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BC Wildfire Service relaxes campfire restrictions in northwest amid rainy conditions

While the campfire bans have been eased, officials continue to urge caution amid ongoing wildfires
A firefighter combats a wildfire near Smithers, where eased campfire restrictions following recent rainfall come with continued warnings for public caution amid persistent fire activity in the region. (BC Wildfire Service)

BC Wildfire Service has eased many of the campfire prohibitions in the Northwest Fire Centre, following periods of significant rainfall and cooler temperatures across the region.

Starting immediately, Category 2 and Category 3 open fires will be allowed in the Cassiar, Skeena, and Bulkley Fire Zones. Meanwhile, the Nadina Fire Zone, which includes Burns Lake, will lift Category 1 campfire prohibitions. However, restrictions on Category 2 and 3 open burning will continue in the Nadina Fire Zone until Oct. 31 at 12:00 p.m. PDT or until further notice.

BC Wildfire Service stressed that despite the rain, there are still active wildfires within the region. “The public is strongly encouraged to exercise caution with any outdoor burning and campfire use,” the service stated, adding that individuals should ensure compliance with local regulations and safety protocols.

Category 2 open fires are described as one or two burning piles no larger than two metres high by three metres wide, or stubble or grass burning over an area less than 0.2 hectares.

READ MORE: BC Wildfire Service eases campfire ban in northwest

Those planning such burns are encouraged to check the Ventilation Index, adhere to Open Burning Smoke Control Regulations, and maintain safety by creating fireguards and ensuring fires are fully extinguished.

Category 3 open fires, on the other hand, are larger and encompass a range of sizes and types, from fires taller than two metres by three metres to the burning of multiple piles or areas larger than 0.2 hectares. Individuals must secure a burn registration number by calling 1-888-797-1717 before igniting a Category 3 fire.

All Category 3 open fires must also meet the standards set by the Environmental Management Act and the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulations, which include checking local venting conditions.

Residents are reminded to verify any additional local restrictions with their municipal or regional authorities. BC Wildfire Services emphasized, “Wildfire prevention is a shared responsibility,” urging the public to help prevent human-caused wildfires.

Violations of open-burning prohibitions come with hefty penalties. Offenders could face a ticket of $1,150, administrative penalties up to $10,000, or even court fines up to $100,000 and/or one year in jail. If a violation leads to a wildfire, the responsible party might be burdened with all firefighting and related costs.

Viktor Elias joined the Terrace Standard in April 2023.

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