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B.C. campfire ban set to come into effect Friday at noon

The campfire ban, which comes into effect at noon on July 12, 2024, will apply to every area of B.C. except the Haida Gwaii Forest District.
A province-wide campfire ban is set to take effect at noon on July 12, 2024.

A province-wide campfire ban is set to take effect at noon Friday, July 12, 2024, as wildfire risk rises along with temperatures.

The B.C. Wildfire Service announced the ban Tuesday.

The campfire ban will apply to every area of the province except the Haida Gwaii Forest District, “which has a somewhat different climate than many other areas,” said Jade Richardson, an information officer for the Coastal Fire Centre, which includes Vancouver Island.

The ban applies to all public and private land, except when otherwise specified by a local government bylaw or other statute. It will remain in effect until noon on Oct. 31, or until it is rescinded.

This year has so far been markedly less active for wildfires on the Island than last year, with 46 fires in the Coastal Fire Centre as of Tuesday, 17 of them on the Island.

By the same time in 2023, there had been 131 fires in the Coastal Fire Centre, including 61 on the Island.

There were no wildfires on the Island as of Tuesday afternoon. The lone wildfire in recent days was a small blaze south of Parksville that was extinguished Monday night.

Relatively cool temperatures this spring and periods of rain have contributed to this year’s lower wildfire numbers, but no precipitation is expected in the near future and heat is forecast to continue.

Last year, the province saw its most destructive wildfire season ever, with about 2.84 million hectares burned and more than 33,000 people forced to evacuate their homes.

Penalties for disobeying a campfire ban can include a $1,150 ticket, while anyone convicted of an offence that leads to court action could face a $100,000 fine or a year in jail.

In an enforcement blitz during the 2023 wildfire season, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service issued $8,050 in fines for breaches of the campfire ban and the Wildfire Act in the South Coast and Kootenay regions.

That included five $1,150 tickets and two other tickets linked to illegal campfires.

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