Campfires banned across B.C.

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      If you're going camping this summer, don't expect to sit in front of a roaring fire at night.

      Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson has announced a ban on open burning, including campfires and fireworks, for most of B.C.

      It takes effect at noon today (July 3).

      "This extraordinary step is being taken to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety. Unseasonably hot and dry weather is being experienced around the province and any preventable, human- caused fires divert critical personnel and resources from other incidents. The BC Wildfire Service is responding to over 150 active fires in the province," a news release from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations states.

      The ban also applies to sky lanterns, tiki torches, burning barrels, burning cages, binary exploding targets, and air curtain burners.

      It does not concern cooking stoves that use gas, propane, or briquettes, and "portable campfire apparatus with a CSA or ULC rating that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, with a flame length of 15 centimetres or less".

      "This prohibition covers all BC Parks, Crown and private lands, but does not apply within the boundaries of local governments that have forest fire prevention bylaws and are serviced by a fire department. Please check with civic authorities for any restrictions before lighting a fire," the release states.

      The ban also excludes the "Fog Zone", a two-kilometre-wide strip on the outer coast of Vancouver Island, from near Port Renfrew to Port Hardy.

      "Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345, 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," the release states.