Think twice before you have an open burn.

That’s because effective at noon Friday, most open burning activities will be banned throughout the Coastal Fire Centre.

This is being enforced to help reduce wildfire risk and protect public safety as the temperatures rise.

Fire information officer Donna MacPherson says the weather is playing a factor.

“This is driven by the conditions in the forest,” she said. “We measure how much precipitation it’s gotten and how dry it is, and we also look forward a little bit to what the weather is in the future forecast and we’re now at the point where we needed to prohibit these types of fires.”

However, campfires will still be allowed, depending on your jurisdiction. 

Category 2 and Category 3 open fire will be prohibited throughout the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction, with the exception being a Category 3 open fire will not be prohibited in Haida Gwaii.

This prohibition applies to all public and private land, unless specified otherwise (e.g., in a local government bylaw). 

You’re asked to check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.

Coastal Fire Centre prohibition areas. (Supplied by the Coastal Fire Centre)

Specifically, this prohibition applies to:

Category 2 open fire

  • the open burning of any material (piled or unpiled) smaller than two metres high and three metres wide;
  • the open burning of material concurrently in 2 piles each not exceeding 2 m in height and 3 m in width; or
  • burning of stubble or grass fires over an area smaller than 0.2 hectares.

Category 3 open fire

  • any fire larger than 2 metres high by 3 metres wide;
  •  the burning of 3 or more concurrently burning piles no larger than 2 metres high by 3 metres wide;
  • the burning of 1 or more windrows; and
  • burning stubble or grass over an area greater than 0.2 hectares.

Also prohibited are the activities listed below (Wildfire Act, Section 12):

  • Fireworks;
  • Sky Lanterns;
  • Binary Exploding Targets;
  • Burn Barrels or Burn Cages of any size or description; and,
  • Air Curtain Burners

The prohibition does not apply to campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, or to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes. 

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

Anyone lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from around the campfire area and have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire.

The Coastal Fire Centre covers all of the areas west of the height of land on the Coast Mountain Range from the U.S.-Canada border at Manning Park, including Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park in the north, the Sunshine Coast, the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.

Anyone caught violating the open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open fire 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 go to: www.bcwildfire.ca.