Effective at 12:00 noon PDT on Friday, September 2, 2022, campfires will be allowed in the Southeast Fire Centre.
The current prohibition against any open fire larger than a campfire (i.e., larger than 0.5 metres wide by 0.5 metres high) remains in effect throughout the Southeast Fire Centre. The Southeast includes Fernie, the Elk Valley and South Country, see the wildfire update here.
The following equipment and activities remain prohibited throughout the Southeast Fire Centre:
• Category 2 and Category 3 open fires, as defined in the Wildfire Regulation
• the use of sky lanterns
• the use of fireworks
• the use of air curtain burners
• the use of burn barrels and burn cages
• the use of binary exploding targets
Anyone lighting a campfire in an area where campfires are allowed must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from around the campfire area, attend the fire at all times, and must have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the campfire. Before lighting a campfire, the public is urged to check with their local regional district or municipality for local open burning bylaws.
To report an abandoned campfire, wildfire, or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 or *5555 on a cellphone.
So far in the 2022 fire season, 92% of the wildfires reported in the Southeast have been naturally caused. The BC Wildfire Service takes several factors into account before rescinding its open burning prohibitions. This includes balancing the needs of the public with the need to mitigate the risk of human-caused wildfires. The combination of shorter days, better overnight recoveries, and cumulative rainfall has reduced the need to prohibit campfires in the Southeast.
Natural resource officers and conservation officers conduct regular patrols throughout British Columbia, including looking out for campfire-related infractions. Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, 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 Southeast Fire Centre extends from the U.S. border in the south to Mica Dam in the north, and from the Okanagan Highlands and Monashee Mountains in the west, to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east.
For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca