Caution urged with spring burning in Lower North Thompson

Already experiencing fire behaviour and conditions normally not seen until April

The Kamloops Fire Centre report that going into this weekend, the area will continue to experience an early drying trend. The Wildfire Management Branch urges the public to be cautious with any open burning due to the increased wildfire risk.

The grass and small shrub layer is unseasonably dry, and the Kamloops Fire Centre say they are already experiencing fire behaviour and conditions normally not seen until April.

Dead grasses have dried out quickly due to the lack of snow cover, increased temperatures and wind.

Anyone wishing to light an open fire must pay attention to changing weather conditions and follow all burning regulations in order to reduce the number of preventable wildfires.

In British Columbia, the Wildfire Act specifies a person’s legal obligations when using fire in or within one kilometre of forest land or grassland. If an outdoor burn escapes and causes a wildfire, the person responsible may be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs.

Before conducting a burn, check with your local fire department, municipality and regional district to check if there are any open burning restrictions or bylaws in effect.

Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345 or, if convicted in court, may be fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or 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.

While FireSmart activities are encouraged this time of year to mitigate interface wildfire risks, there is a safe way to conduct backyard burning. Homeowners and industry personnel are encouraged to visit the Wildfire Management Branch website − www.bcwildfire.ca/Prevention, consult the B.C. FireSmart manual, or go to: www.bcwildfire.ca