Fire centre urges caution with outdoor burning
This controlled burn on the west side of Vaseux Lake last week caused significant smoke and prompted complaints from nearby residents who found it difficult to breathe. The smoke even invaded the Oliver area.
Lyonel Doherty photo
The Kamloops Fire Centre is asking the public to exercise caution with any outdoor burning activities this spring.
As the snow melts, dried grass from last summer is uncovered and that material can be highly flammable. Almost all wildfires at this time of the year are caused by people and are therefore preventable.
Homeowners and industry personnel are encouraged to consult the BC 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.
– If you are planning a large burn, consider conducting smaller burns around the perimeter beforehand to create a fuel break and help stop the fire from spreading beyond its intended size. Each of these fires should be kept small and must be completely extinguished before starting a new fire.
– Never leave a fire unattended and make sure that your fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before you leave the area.
If you are planning to do any large-scale industrial burning or conduct a grass burn over 0.2 hectares (Category 3 fires), you must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time by calling 1 888 797-1717.
Venting conditions should always be checked 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.
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.