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Coastal Fire Centre urges caution with outdoor burning

The Coastal Fire Centre is encouraging the public to exercise caution when doing any outdoor burning.

Open burning restrictions will be in place later this spring, so now is a good time for residents to clean up their yards.

Almost all wildfires that start at this time of year are human-caused and are therefore preventable. Homeowners and industry personnel are encouraged to visit the Wildfire Management Branch website (www.bcwildfire.ca/Prevention), 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.
  • 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.

Before conducting a burn, check with your local fire department, municipality and regional district to see if any open burning restrictions or bylaws are in effect. 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. Always check the venting conditions before conducting an open burn. The venting index can be found at: http://www.bcairquality.ca/readings/ventilation-index.htmlUp-to-date information on open fire bans can be obtained online at www.bcwildfire.ca or by calling 1 888 3-FOREST.

In British Columbia, the Wildfire Act specifies a person’s legal obligations when using fire in or within one kilometre of forest land or grassland. If an outdoor burn escapes and causes a wildfire, the person responsible may be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs.

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