PARKSVILLE, B.C. – The Coastal Fire Centre has announced that a campfire ban will be put in place as of noon on Wednesday, July 18th.

The decision comes amid heat warnings from Environment Canada.

The ban will apply to all of the areas within the Coastal Fire Centre, which includes Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

Exceptions include Haida Gwaii and the “fog zone” running down the western coast of Vancouver Island.

The CFC said that gas, propane and briquette cooking stoves will be permitted. So there are still ways campers can recreate the campfire experience.

“If you do have a device that has a CSA (Canadian Standards Association) or ULC (Underwriters Laboratories of Canada Inc.) approval rating, that can be a cooking stove or portable campfire apparatus, those are still allowed as long as the flame height is less than 15 centimetres high,” said Natasha Broznitski, a Fire Information Officer with the Coastal Fire Centre.

The bans affect all provincial parks in the Coastal Fire Centre’s area, as well as Crown land and private property.

Anyone caught breaking the ban could face a maximum penalty of $100,000 in fines and a year in jail.

“There is a potential for anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition to be issued a ticket for 1150-dollars, and if the campfire contributes to a wildfire, or there are other situations in place, there could be additional penalties on top of the ticket” Broznitski said.

She added that as for how long the campfire ban will be in place, it depends on the weather.

“If we just get a few showers, the weather generally stays hot and dry, and those showers are not going to be effective at rehydrating the larger fuels, and the fuels deeper down in the ground, which can really contribute to wildfires, if there are wildfires in the area,” she explained.

Broznitski noted that the prohibition will remain in effect until October 19th, 2018 or until the public is otherwise notified.

For areas not impacted by campfire bans, BC Parks is recommending building campfires no larger than 0.5 by 0.5 metres.