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Prohibition of Category 3 open fires coming to Okanagan-Shuswap

Ban does not include Category 1 campfires or Category 2 open fires
A prohibition of Category 3 open fires comes into effect in the Kamloops Fire Centre on Friday, May 3, 2024. (File photo)

Category 3 open burning will be prohibited in the Okanagan-Shuswap as of noon on Friday, May 3.

The BC Wildfire Service BCWS announced Wednesday, April 24, that the prohibition is being enacted to prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety. It applies only to Category 3 open fires, which are described as

• Material concurrently in three or more piles each not exceeding two metres in height and 3 metres in width;

• Material in one or more piles each exceeding 2 m in height or 3 m in width;

• one or more windrows, each not exceeding 200m in length or 15 m in width;

• stubble or grass over an area exceeding 0.2 hectares.

The prohibition applies to all public and private land within the Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes the Okanagan-Shuswap, unless specified otherwise in enactment such as local government bylaw.

“Before lighting any fire, people should check with local government authorities to see if any other burning restrictions are in effect,” said the BCWS, noting the prohibition does not include Category 1 campfires or Category 2 open fires.

Other parts of the province have had a prohibition of Category 2 and 3 open fires since March 28, including the Cariboo and Prince George fire centres, and across the Bulkley and Nadina fire zones in the North Fire Centre.

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail, said the BCWS. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663 5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cell phone. For up-to-date information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, call 1 888 3-FOREST or visit:

Read more: Caution urged after open burns get away from Columbia Shuswap property owners

Read more: UPDATE: B.C. interior wildfires being held

Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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