More than 150 of the Province's personnel will be on patrol enforcing the campfire ban over the long weekend, Minister of Forests and Range Pat Bell and Minister of Environment Barry Penner said today.
"With all the lightning-caused wildfire activity we're seeing, we can't afford to have our firefighting resources diverted by preventable fires," said Bell. "These patrols aim to protect British Columbians, our property and forest resources by targeting the people whose carelessness and risk-taking cost us all."
"British Columbians should know that conservation officers and park rangers will be enforcing the campfire ban in BC Parks this weekend," said Penner. "I encourage people to enjoy themselves, but given the prolonged period of hot weather and all that is at risk, we will be requiring 100 per cent public compliance."
As lightning becomes more common in the summer season, it is crucial that crews are available to respond to naturally occurring wildfires. Human-caused wildfires divert critical resources away from managing these lightning-caused fires.
Campfire bans went into effect around most of the province at noon on July 29. Anyone found in violation of the campfire ban may be issued a $345 ticket, and should a wildfire occur as a result of their actions, a person can be fined up to $1 million or spend three years in prison, and be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
"It's not just the person who strikes the match who may be ticketed, it is anyone sitting around the campfire," said Bell. "People need to understand the dangers campfires pose in these hot and dry conditions, a campfire can become a forest fire in seconds."
The public is urged to exercise extreme caution on forested land with any activity that could lead to a wildfire. Make sure to extinguish cigarettes safely and avoid driving ATVs and motorcycles through tall grass and undergrowth.
To report a wildfire or unattended campfire call *5555 on your cellphone, or call toll-free to 1 800 663-5555.
For the latest information on fire activity, conditions and prohibitions, visit www.firesafebc.ca