Fire ban lifted for North Island

Ban on campfires lifted for the Mount Waddington Regional District.

North Island campers got a bit of good news for their late-summer outings Friday when a ban on campfires was lifted for the Mount Waddington Regional District. As of noon Aug. 16, campfires and Category 3 open fires are permitted in the geographic area of the Regional District, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations’ Coastal Fire Centre announced this week. The Mount Waddington Regional District extends over the northern tip of Vancouver Island, the northern Gulf Islands and the Mainland from Call Inlet to Smith Sound. A campfire and open fire prohibition still remains in effect for all other areas of the Coastal Fire Centre except Haida Gwaii and the Fog Zone. A map of the area is available at http://bit.ly/14hB8mQ. Campfires in the permitted areas must not be larger than a half-metre wide by a half-metre high. Anyone who lights a campfire must have a hand tool (such as a shovel) or at least eight litres of water nearby to fully extinguish the campfire. Never leave a campfire unattended and make sure the ashes are completely cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time. A Category 3 open fire is a fire that burns material in piles larger than two metres high by three metres wide, windrows, or grass over an area larger than 2,000 square metres in size. Any person lighting a Category 3 open fire in the permitted areas of the Coastal Fire Centre, must comply with the burning regulations and obtain a burn registration number by calling 1 888 797-1717. The rescinding of the campfire and Category 3 open fire prohibition within this area applies to all BC Parks, Crown and private lands, but does not apply within the boundaries of local governments that have forest fire prevention bylaws and are serviced by a fire department. Please check with civic authorities for any restrictions before lighting a fire. Anyone contravening an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345 or, if convicted in court, be fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person may be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 and be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs. To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, go to: http://www.bcwildfire.ca.