Warnings about wildfire conditions in the Lakes District

The North West Fire Centre is urging locals to be extra cautious with burning activities as the North heats up.

While Northern B.C. has not been a hot spot for fire activity this season, the North West Fire Centre is urging locals to be extra cautious with burning activities as the North heats up.

While there is currently no fires burning in the Northwest, hot and dry conditions over the past two weeks have increased the risk of wildfires.

A burning ban is currently in place in the Northwest region for all medium and large sized open fires.

This prohibits burning waste, slash or other material, whether piled or unpiled, that is larger than half a metre in height or half a metre in width.

Burning more than two piles of waste or slash of any size, burning grass and fireworks of any size or description is banned.

The ban covers all B.C. parks, Crown and private lands but does not include camp fires or gas or propane cooking stoves, or briquettes.

People lighting a campfire must maintain a fire guard and must have at least eight litres of water available nearby.

Residents of the Village of Burns Lake are required to apply for a permit for campfires or to burn yard waste from the Village of Burns Lake.

Permits are free of charge and apply for two weeks, however village fire chief Jim McBride has requested the village forgo issuing burning permits to the public, due to the current weather conditions.

Lindsay Carnes, fire information officer from the Northwest Fire Centre said people should to be extra cautious due to an extended forecast of dry and warm weather in the region.

“Even though it has been a quiet forest fire season so far, people should not become complacent about campfire use, or open fires,” she said.

According to Carnes, when burning is permitted, it should only be done away from branches, wood and other combustible materials and enough people, water and tools should be on hand to control the fire and prevent it from escaping.

“Never burn in windy conditions, since weather conditions can change quickly and carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires,” she said.

Never leave a fire unattended and make sure that the fire is completely extinguished and the embers are cold before leaving the area.

Carnes advised that anyone planning a large-scale industrial burn, category three must call 1-888-797-1717 and obtain a burn registration number ahead of time.

Venting conditions should always be checked before conducting an open burn and if conditions are rated poor or fair, open burning is restricted.

“Burning should not be done if local air flow will cause the smoke to negatively affect nearby communities or residences,” Carnes added.

There is currently six wildfires burning in B.C., including an 850 hectare fire at Suhm Creek and a 40 hectare fire at Kotcho River both in the Prince George area.

Local area forestry contractors have been reduced to half days, working in the morning only, due to the risk of a fire. For more information on the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation, visit www.env.gov.bc.ca

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