Conditions prompt fire ban

An unusually hot and dry summer has caused fire restrictions province-wide

An unusually dry summer has brought an early season fire ban. On July 2 at noon,  a fire ban was announced by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operation’s B.C. Wildfire Service.

The fire ban states that  Category 2 and Category 3 open fires as well as campfires are prohibited through the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction, a branch of the B.C. Wildfire Service.

The exceptions to the fire ban are Haida Gwaii and an area referred to as the Fog Zone,  a two-kilometre-wide strip that stretches from Owen Point north to the top of Vancouver Island, and wraps around to the District of Port Hardy boundary.

The Fog Zone does not include Port Hardy.

Schell Nickerson, Chief of the Port Hardy Fire Department confirmed a fire ban in Port Hardy. Brent Forsberg, a Captain at the Port McNeill Volunteer Fire Department, confirms that they have a fire ban in place while a representative from the Village of Port Alice Village Office stated they are also under a fire ban.

Brent Borg, Deputy Chief of the Port Hardy Volunteer Fire Department, says that the fire ban could last for a very long time as there is no rain forecasted in the near future. He also says a fire ban this early in the summer is rare.

“The whole province is getting concerned about low waters and dry forests,” says Borg.

The Wildfire Act can apply to all B.C. Parks, Crown land and private land within the jurisdiction of the Coastal Fire Centre that do not have local government bylaws and have fire services.

Donna MacPherson, a Fire Information officer with the Coastal Fire Centre, says that some municipalities have their own fire prevention bylaws, but will still defer to or follow the Centre’s rules and bans.

For example, Port Hardy has its own fire bylaws, but they follow the Coastal Fire Centre’s bans, according to Nickerson.

In lieu of bylaws, the Coastal Fire Centre’s bans and enforcement is used. Provincial bans are observed province-wide

“We’re the default if there isn’t anything local,” says MacPherson.

A representative from the Provincial Wildfire Coordination Centre says their fine for failure to comply with a fire restriction is $345, but if the infraction leads to an actual fire, the individual responsible can be fined for damage and resources required to put the fire out – significantly more than $345.

The current ban from the Coastal Fire Centre also includes using fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, burning barrels and cages. Using CSA/ULC rated portable stoves is allowed, but the flame height must fall below 15 centimetres.

Briquettes can only be used in these aforementioned devices, and not in established campfire rings.  The Provincial Wildfire Coordination Centre averages 134 fires started each year from campfires, with the annual cost for dealing with those fires totalling more than $2.2 million.

 

Just Posted

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Blueprints for the seniors housing project in Port Hardy. (North Island Seniors Housing Foundation photo)
BC Housing declines North Island Seniors Housing Foundation’s proposal to build units

BC Housing will be explaining why exactly the project was declined at a June 18 meeting

An aerial view of the marine oil-spill near Bligh Island in Nootka sound that the Canadian Coast Guard posted in a live social media feed in December. ( Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook)
Oil from vessel that sank in 1968 off Vancouver Island to be removed

DFO hires Florida firm to carefully remove oil from MV Schiedyk in Nootka Sound starting in mid-June

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read