The Northwest Fire Centre is urging the public to exercise caution with any outdoor burning activities this week due to more hot and dry weather expected in the region.
Over the past week, fire crews in the Northwest Fire Centre have responded to seven wildfires resulting from grass and pile burning. This is a concern given that the Fire Danger Rating is already "high" in some parts of the region.
At this time of year, dead grass from last summer becomes very dry and can be highly flammable. Almost all wildfires at this time of year are human caused and are therefore preventable.
Homeowners and industry personnel are encouraged to consult the B.C. FireSmart manual and take the following precautions:
* Ensure that enough people, water and tools are on hand to control the fire and prevent it from escaping.
* Do not burn during windy conditions. Weather conditions can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires.
* Create a fireguard at least one metre around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material.
* Never leave a fire unattended. Make sure that your fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before you leave the area.
To view the B.C. FireSmart manual, visit: http://bcwildfire.ca/FightingWildfire/safety/pamphlets/FireSmart-BC4.pdf
If you are planning to do any large-scale industrial burning or conduct a grass burn over 0.2 hectares in size (Category 3 fires), you must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time by calling 1 888 797-1717. More information is available at: http://bcwildfire.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/Bans.asp
Always check venting conditions before conducting an open burn. If conditions are rated "Poor" or "Fair", open burning is restricted. The venting index can be found at: http://www.bcairquality.ca/readings/ventilation-index.html
In British Columbia, the Wildfire Act specifies a person's legal obligations when using fire on or within one kilometre of forest or grassland. If an outdoor burn escapes and causes a wildfire, the person responsible may be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs.
Anyone found in contravention of 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.
The Province thanks the public for its ongoing help in preventing wildfires. To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or call *5555 on your cellphone.
For the latest information on fire activity, conditions and prohibitions, visit the Wildfire Management Branch website: www.bcwildfire.ca
You can also follow the latest wildfire news:
* On Twitter at: http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo
* On Facebook at: http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo