Public caution urged with outdoor burning

As the snow melts, dried grass from last summer is uncovered and that material can be highly flammable

The Kamloops Fire Centre is asking the public to exercise caution  with any outdoor burning activities this spring.

As the snow melts, dried grass from last summer is uncovered and that material  can be highly flammable. Almost all wildfires at this time of the year are caused by people and are preventable.

“Homeowners and industry personnel are encouraged to consult the B.C. FireSmart  manual,” said Michaela Swan, fire information officer.

Among the precautions you can take are:

*Ensure that enough people, water and tools are on hand to control the fire and  prevent it from escaping.

*Do not burn during windy conditions. Weather conditions can change quickly and  the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires.

*Create a fireguard at least one metre around the planned fire site by clearing  away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material.

*If you are planning a large burn, consider conducting smaller burns around the  perimeter beforehand to create a fuel break and help stop the fire from  spreading beyond its intended size. Each of these fires should be kept small and  must be completely extinguished before starting a new fire.

*Never leave a fire unattended and make sure that your fire is completely  extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before you leave the area.

If you are planning to do any large-scale industrial burning or conduct a grass  burn over 0.2 hectares, you must obtain a burn registration  number ahead of time by calling 1-888-797-1717.

Venting conditions should always be checked before conducting an open burn.

“If  conditions are rated poor or Fair, open burning is restricted,” said Swan.

“The venting  index can be found at: http://www.bcairquality.ca/readings/ventilation-index.html.”

Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket  for $345 or, if convicted in court, be fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one  year in jail. If the contravention contributes to a wildfire, the  person may be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 and be ordered to pay all  firefighting and associated costs.

To view the B.C. FireSmart manual, go to http://bcwildfire.ca/FightingWildfire/safety/pamphlets/FireSmart-BC4.pdf