As a wildfire near Prince George continues to grow and three fire departments successfully extinguish a stubborn brush fire near Lumby on Monday, it’s not difficult to proclaim that the forest fire season has come early this year.
That’s why it makes sense for the Kamloops Fire Centre to declare an open fire prohibition beginning Friday, the unofficial start to the summer season and the Victoria Day long weekend.
Hot, dry weather has dominated the region for weeks and the forecast is for more of the same so it only makes sense to exercise extreme caution in the woods this weekend, even though it’s only mid-May on the calendar.
The prohibition covers all B.C. Parks and Crown lands but does not ban campfires of a reasonable size, so please use common sense and practise fire safety procedures at all times.
It is a weekend to be enjoyed and celebrated but it must be done responsibly and within the rules that keep all of us, and our forests and wildlife, safe.
And the province takes its bans seriously as anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition can be issued a $345 ticket or, if convicted in court, be fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one year in jail.
If the contravention furthermore contributes to a wildfire, the person can face a further $10,000 penalty and a bill for all firefighting and associated costs.
However, all it takes to avoid catastrophe in the forests is a little common sense, a respect for the great outdoors and following the rules of the land, which now includes an open fire prohibition.
By all means, enjoy the long weekend wherever you are, but do it responsibly.