At least 14 illegal fires set in Fraser Valley this month

Conservation officers are fed up with people not listening to the province-wide fire ban

The acting conservation sergeant for White Rock to Boston Bar is speaking out about the amount of illegal fires he’s witnessed in the Fraser Valley this month.

“We’ve charged 14 people over the last three weekends,” said conservation officer, Don Stahl. “We’re finding that the message doesn’t seem to be getting out to everyone as people are still willing to risk being charged (for starting fires).”

Starting last month, most of British Columbia was placed under a fire ban due to high temperatures and no forecast of rain: this means no open burning or campfires.

“This means no tiki torches, no binary targets, no fireworks,” said Stahl. “Propane fires are allowed as long as they’re CSA-approved.”

RELATED: Illegal campfires prompt $48,000 in fines over B.C. Day weekend

But people aren’t listening, so in addition to their regular shifts, conservation officers from both Nanaimo and Maple Ridge have volunteered to make the trek to the Fraser Valley to lend a hand.

“They handle other calls during the day, and after a short break they do another shift at night,” Stahl continued. And it’s during those night shifts that Stahl says they’re finding a large amount of illegal fires.

“These fires are all on Crown forests, and all outside of campgrounds. Some of these fires are even underneath trees, which is very concerning,” added the 20-year conservation officer.

If you’re caught starting a fire, feeding it, or even sitting around it, Stahl says you can be issued a fine for up to $1,150 and your name will be entered into the conservation database.

“Every stop we run their names through the database, and if it’s there, it’s probably not going to be just a ticket,” said Stahl. “We’ll ask for a court appearance” where a judge can impose a heftier fine, or possibly levy criminal charges.

If you witness any illegal burning activity, you’re urged to call the Report All Polluters and Poachers (RAPP) hot-line at 877-952-7277 and make an anonymous report.


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Business notes: Downtown Duncan open-air food court opens

What’s happening in Cowichan’s business community

Documentary on legendary Chief Tzouhalem to be filmed in Cowichan

Film is the latest project by Drama Camp Productions

West Shore RCMP arrests five suspects in multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking investigation

Cocaine, prohibited loaded handgun, weapons, stolen vehicles seized

Bottle drive Saturday to assist sick Cowichan teenager and family

Sammy Dubois, 14, disgnosed with rare neurological disorder

Editorial: Alternative approval process is not the enemy

Not everything should go to a referendum.

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Limit police access to lethal weapons in Indigenous communities: Justice Summit

Grassroots-organized National Indigenous Justice Summit was a free-to-attend two-day videoconference

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Most Read