Fireworks, lanterns and open burns banned in B.C. - InfoNews

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Fireworks, lanterns and open burns banned in B.C.

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April 07, 2020 - 10:00 AM

Don't expect to see fireworks, sky lanterns or to get an open burn going in the days ahead.

As of noon Thursday, April 16, the province said most open burning activities will be prohibited throughout B.C. to reduce the likelihood of human-caused wildfires, although campfires will still be allowed, unless the local government says otherwise — as has been the case in the Central Okanagan.

The following activities will be prohibited, and these restrictions will remain in effect until the public is otherwise notified:

  • Category 2 open fires;
  • Category 3 open fires;
  • Resource Management open fires;
  • the use of fireworks;
  • the use of sky lanterns; and
  • the use of burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description (except when used for a campfire).

These prohibitions apply to all public and private land within British Columbia, unless specified otherwise.

"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. They will also help reduce the impact of wildfire smoke on air quality and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic," the government press release said.

"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. 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. The open burning prohibitions coming into effect on April 16 should decrease the number of false alarms (where firefighters respond to a report of smoke, only to find the smoke is coming from a controlled burn and not from a wildfire).

These open burning prohibitions also support the BC Centre for Disease Control's recommendation to help reduce excess air pollution in airsheds throughout the province.

All illegal fires will be investigated, and charges may be laid under the Wildfire Act or Wildfire Regulation, depending on the outcome of the investigation.

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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