Campfires okay, but open burning banned

Campfires are still allowed but other types of open burning are now banned in the Cowichan Valley and the rest of the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction.

This ban applies to the burning of any material piled or unpiled smaller than two metres in height and three metres in width; the burning of stubble or grass fires over an area less than 2,000 square metres; the use of fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, burning barrels, or burning cages of any size or description; and the use of binary exploding targets like those used in rifle target practice.

Campfires are still a go if they are smaller than a half-metre high by a half-metre wide. Cooking stoves that use gas or propane or briquettes are also allowed.

But there are still requirements if you’re going to light a campfire.

"People lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from around the campfire area and they must have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire," said Fire Information Officers Donna

MacPherson and Marg Drysdale in a media release. "Make sure that your fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before you leave the area for any length of time."

The penalties for lighting a banned fire are a ticket for $345 or, if convicted in court, a fine of up to $100,000 and/or a sentence of one year in jail.

If you light a banned fire and cause a wildfire, you’re subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 and ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

The ban is in effect until Oct. 16 or the public is otherwise notified.

To report a wildfire call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cell phone.