The provincial government is extending its ban on opening burning past April 16 until further notice.
“These open burning prohibitions will reduce demands on firefighting resources and help protect the health and safety of the public, as well as BC Wildfire Service staff,” the Province said in a release.
“They will also help reduce the impact of wildfire smoke on air quality and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The ban takes in Category 2 fires defined as an open fire, excluding a campfire, that burns piled material no larger than two metres high and three metres wide, or grass over an area less than 2000 square metres in size and Category 3 fires defined as a fire that burns material in piles larger than two metres high and three metres wide, windrows, or grass larger than 2000 square metres in size.
Additionally, the ban includes slash or other burning from forestry companies, fireworks, the use of sky lanterns and burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description except when used for a campfire.
These bans apply to all public and private land within British Columbia although there may be exceptions with local government boundaries as determined by local bylaws.
One reason behind the bans is to reduce excess air pollution as recommended by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
“A strategic deployment of wildfire management resources is critical this fire season, so it is especially important to reduce the number of unnecessary, human-caused wildfires,” the province stated.
“It is vital BC Wildfire Service staff remain healthy to respond to wildfires throughout the 2020 season and ensure the BC Wildfire Service’s response capability is not affected.”
“During the current pandemic, larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection and response capabilities.”