Effective May 15, the size of open fires will be restricted

This prohibition will remain in effect until Oct. 15, 2015, or until further notice

KAMLOOPS – Effective at noon on May 15, 2015, the size of open fires will be restricted in most of the Kamloops Fire Centre to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect the public. This prohibition applies to all of the Kamloops Fire Centre except the Clearwater Fire Zone and the Salmon Arm Fire Zone.

Anyone conducting Category 2 or 3 fires outside of those two zones must extinguish any such fires by noon on May 15. This prohibition will remain in effect until Oct. 15, 2015, or until further notice.

A map of the affected areas is available online at: http://bit.ly/1k1nUTS

Since April 1, Kamloops Fire Centre crews have responded to 12 wildfire incidents covering more than 129 hectares. Many of these wildfires resulted from poorly planned open burning.

Above-average temperatures and an early drying trend in the Kamloops Fire Centre have increased wildfire risks, so residents are urged to use extra caution with any open burning. Specifically, prohibited activities include:

* The burning of any waste, slash or other materials (piled or unpiled) larger than one-half metre by one-half metre.

* The burning of more than two open fires of any size at the same time.

* Stubble or grass fires of any size over any area.

* The use of fireworks, sky lanterns or burning barrels of any size or description.

This prohibition does not ban campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide (or smaller) and does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes. This prohibition covers all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands, but it does not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has forest fire prevention bylaws in place and is serviced by a fire department.

Before lighting any fire, residents should check with local civic authorities regarding any current prohibitions. The Clearwater Fire Zone and the Salmon Arm Fire Zone will also become subject to this prohibition on June 15, 2015, when all open burning will be prohibited throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre. The Kamloops Fire Centre stretches from the northern border of Wells Gray Park to the U.S. border in the south, and from the Bridge River Glacier west of Gold Bridge to the Monashee Mountains east of Lumby. For information about open burning and tips on making responsible burning decisions, please download one of the open burning guides at: http://bcwildfire.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/Bans.asp 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 responsible may be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 and be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs. To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call *5555 on your cellphone or call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free.