As dry conditions in the Gulf Islands persist — and as a record-setting wildfire season is shaping up across the province — campfires will join the list of prohibited burning activities effective noon Thursday, June 8.
Campfires will be banned on all public and private land on Salt Spring Island and throughout the Coastal Fire Centre except for the Haida Gwaii Forest District, according to fire officials, to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety. This comes after a move that prohibited most other outdoor burning May 18, and as Salt Spring Island fell under “extreme” forest fire danger on Monday.
In addition to campfires and open burning, fireworks, sky lanterns, burn barrels or burn cages, binary exploding targets, air curtain burners, Tiki (and similar) torches and chimineas are also prohibited. This prohibition does not include the use of stoves used outdoors for “cooking, heat or ambiance,” according to wildfire regulations, which burn charcoal briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, and have a flame height less than 15 cm tall.
Anyone who lights, fuels or uses an open fire when a fire prohibition is in place or fails to comply with an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150 or, if convicted in court, be 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 subject to a penalty of up to $100,000 and ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs, according to the Coastal Fire Centre.
The Coastal Fire Centre covers all the area west of the height of land on the Coast Mountain Range from the U.S.-Canada border at Manning Park, including Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park in the north, the Sunshine Coast, the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.