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Coastal Fire Centre lifts all fire bans

Feel free to have an open fire as of noon tomorrow.

The Coastal Fire Centre says that’s when all open fires will again be permitted across the region.

Category 2 open fires will be permitted along with tiki torches, burn barrels, fireworks, sky lanterns and binary exploding targets.

Information officer Marg Drysdale said fall-like weather has reduced the wildfire risk across the region.

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“We’ve taken a substantial amount of rain, we’re having some cooler weather and shorter days so we now have (a) reduced wildfire risk,” Drysdale said.

A Category 2 fire is one that burns material in a pile not exceeding two metres high by three metres wide.

Campfire and Category 3 open fire restrictions were not implemented this summer.

So with the lifting of this prohibition, there will be no open fire bans within the Coastal Fire Centre.

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Local governments may still have their own burning restrictions in place, so you should check with local authorities before lighting a fire of any size.

Anyone lighting a Category 3 fire has to get a burn registration number by calling 1-888 797-1717. 

A Category 3 fire is one that burns material more than two metres high or three metres wide, stubble or grass of more than 2,000 square metres, or more than two piles of any size.

A poster explaining the different categories of open fires is available here.

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Anyone who lights a fire has to comply with B.C.’s air quality control legislation. 

The BC Wildfire Service urges people to take the following precautions with any permitted outdoor burning:

  • Ensure that enough people, water and tools are on hand to control the fire and stop it from escaping.
  • Do not burn in windy conditions. The weather can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires.
  • Create a fireguard around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Make sure the fire is fully extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.

Meanwhile, it’s been a tame wildfire season to say the least in the Coastal Fire Centre.

From April 1 to today, wildfires have burned 322 hectares in the region. Over the same period last year, fires ripped through 174,982 hectares.

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The 10-year average is 22,791 hectares.

There have been 157 fires to date, 105 of which have been human caused and 52  from lightning.

Drysale said the size of the fires this year have helped limit the number of hectares burned. 

“We have had substantially less hectares burned this year, largely because we’ve had smaller fires,” Drysdale said. “Obviously (we’ve had) numerous fires with 157, but most of the fires have been generally small. Our people have been able to get onto them very quickly and because of the conditions they haven’t grown.”

The Coastal Fire Centre covers south coastal B.C., the most heavily populated area in the province.

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This area encompasses approximately 16.5 million hectares of land and includes Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, 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, click here.

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