Open blazes banned as Cowichan Valley dries out

Open fires were banned in most areas of the BC Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction on Friday, though campfires are still allowed.

Open fires were banned in most areas of the BC Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction on Friday, though campfires are still allowed.

This prohibition will remain in effect until Oct. 21, or until the public is otherwise notified.

The order covers all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands within the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction, with the exception of the extreme West Coast area known as the fog zone, which includes the westernmost part of the Cowichan Valley.

Specifically, this prohibition applies to burning of piles of material or of stubble or grass.

Also, fireworks, sky lanterns and burning barrels or burning cages of any description are prohibited.

Even target practice with a rifle falls under the ban.

However, this prohibition does not ban campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, or apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, according to fire information officer Donna MacPherson.

“People lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from the campfire area, and they must have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire. Campfires must be fully extinguished when not attended,” she said.

The fire ban does not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has wildfire prevention bylaws in place and is serviced by a fire department.

Anyone in contravention of the rules may be issued a ticket for $1,150 or, if convicted in court, be fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail.

To report a wildfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

For the latest information go to www.bcwildfire.ca