Friday August 6, 2010

BC Government Press Release

 

Zero Tolerance For Campfires

Province-wide ban in effect    

Submitted

 

Smoke from forest fires influence sunrise in the eastern Fraser Valley on Friday. Craig Hill/Voice photo

 

ritish Columbia compliance officers will be out in large numbers this weekend to enforce the campfire ban and other wildfire prevention restrictions, Minister of Forests and Range Pat Bell warned today.

 

“British Columbia continues to face severe wildfire conditions and everyone needs to do their part,” said Bell. “That means no campfires, no fireworks, and no careless discarding of cigarette butts. And if you ignore any of the bans, don’t think you’ll get off with a verbal warning. You can expect a fine.”

 

More than 340 staff from the Ministry of Forests and Range and the Ministry of Environment will be out enforcing campfire bans and other restrictions, with violation tickets ranging from $173 to $345. Under the Wildfire Act, penalties for causing a wildfire, even accidentally, can range up to $1,000,000 and three years’ imprisonment, in addition to liability for costs and damages.

 

“For those of us planning to visit a BC Park during these challenging times, it is critical that we respect the fire restrictions,” said Minister of Environment Barry Penner. “Staff patrolling our Parks will have zero-tolerance for anyone who ignores the bans on campfires.”

 

Local police forces, RCMP, and local government by-law officers will also be enforcing fire restrictions within their jurisdictions.

 

Between July 24 and August 3, Ministry of Forests and Range compliance and enforcement staff issued 54 tickets to people violating the campfire ban, as well as discovering and extinguishing 100 campfires and five abandoned campfires. Over the August long weekend, over 100 people per day called to report campfire violations.

 

“At any point in time we have up to 400 helicopters and planes in the air and close to 4,000 workers on the ground, doing an incredible job,” added Bell. “Every British Columbian can support them by staying out of the back country and calling us to report any smoke and fires.”

 

The 2009 wildfire season has been one of the most active and dangerous in recent memory. There have been 2,300 fires this year, 800 more than at the same point in 2003.

 

The public reports nearly half of all wildfires in B.C. Please continue to report smoke and flames by calling toll-free 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks. For the latest information, visit http://bcwildfire.ca.

 

 

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