NEWS

Campfires banned in B.C.'s South Coast this weekend

08/01/2013 02:58 EDT | Updated 10/01/2013 05:12 EDT
Fire officials are banning campfires in the southern coastal parts of the province as some areas of B.C. continue to experience record-breaking hot and dry conditions this summer.

Effective at noon today, the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch is banning all open fires and campfires in B.C. parks as well as on Crown and private land in the southern portions of the Coastal Fire Centre, which encompassed all of Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley up to the Whistler and Pemberton areas, the Sunshine Coast, and parts of the Central Coast.

A campfire ban is also going into effect at noon for the southern portion of the Cariboo Fire Centre.

Fire information officer Melissa Welsh says the campfire bans apply to fires, industrial burning, fireworks, tiki torches, sky lanterns and burning barrels, but does not include cooking on propane stoves or with briquettes.

"Any kind of fire pit that is at a campsite, if you are burning wood, those apparatus are prohibited during the campfire ban,” she said.

The city of Vernon, the Central Okanagan and the Okanagan-Similkameen regional districts are also banning campfires today. Open fire bans are in already in effect for much of southern B.C.

The Wildfire Management Branch says a third of the fires it has responded to this year were caused by humans.

Breaking the ban can result in a $345 ticket. Causing a wildfire, whether by arson or recklessness, can lead to a $1-million fine and three years in jail, in addition to footing the firefighting bill.

The campfire ban is expected to continue until Oct. 15.

Sunniest month for Vancouver

Conditions have been especially dry in Vancouver, which had a completely dry July and surpassed its previous record for sunniest month after racking up about 400 hours of sunshine in July.

According to Environment Canada, Vancouver's previous record for the sunniest month was set in July of 1985.

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