A brush fire in Port Edward in July 2015.

Fire fines triple

Pyros and smokers be warned, it just got a lot more expensive to forget to put out fires and cigarettes.

Pyros and smokers be warned, it just got a lot more expensive to forget to put out fires and cigarettes.

As of April 1, the B.C. government increased wildfire-related fines — in some cases threefold — in an attempt to have residents be a little more mindful when it comes to open fires. The province made the changes to 26 fire related violations under the Wildfire Act and the Wildfire Regulation.

Forgetting to extinguish a cigarette, or any other burning substance, is now a $575 fine. Not abiding to a fire restriction under the Wildfire Act will cost the offender $1,150, a huge jump from last year’s fine of $345.

Last year was more combustible than usual with more than 283,400 hectares scorched, costing $278 million in wildfire management. One of the biggest factors of all that fire — people — who are the cause of 30 – 40 per cent of wildfires, stated a press release from the province.

“This government has acted on behalf of all British Columbians to crack down on reckless behaviour that could put lives, communities and resources at risk. We encourage everyone to … learn more about responsible fire use,” said Minister of Forests and Lands Steve Thomson.