By Laura Keil
As of noon today, the BC Wildfire Service has outlawed campfires in the Robson Valley Fire Zone amid high to extreme fire danger in Valemount, McBride and surrounding areas. The Province lifted the ban for the entire Prince George Fire Zone on Wednesday, but has now reinstated the ban in the Robson Valley.
The prohibition will remain in effect until noon on October 15, 2021, or until the order is rescinded.
A campfire is defined as any fire smaller than 0.5 metres high by 0.5 metres wide. In addition to campfires, Category 2, and Category 3 open fires, the following activities are also prohibited:
- The use of fireworks
- The use of sky lanterns
- The use of burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description
- The use of binary exploding targets
- The use of tiki and similar kinds of torches
- The use of chimineas
- The use of outdoor stoves or other portable campfire apparatus without a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Underwriter Laboratories of Canada (ULC) rating
- The use of air curtain burners
After the ban was initially lifted Wednesday, many locals expressed concern about the high to extreme danger rating, paired with temperatures above 30 degrees all weekend, and long weekend campers likely to flock to the area.
The fire danger rating is expected to remain “Extreme” in the Valemount area and “High” in McBride throughout the weekend.
Valemount Mayor Owen Torgerson praised the decision.
“The Prince George Fire Centre covers a massive area – from the Yukon border to south of Blue River – and boasts vast and varied climates,” he said. “I would like to thank our partners in the Prince George Fire Centre for implementing a creative solution to ensure that a campfire ban remains in place for Valemount and the Robson Valley. I urge all residents and visitors to follow the campfire ban and to be careful in our area when recreating in our amazing backcountry over this long weekend and throughout the rest of the summer.”
The Province says campfire prohibitions are implemented based on the particular region’s BUI values. The BUI rating estimates the amount of fuel available for combustion on the landscape. It takes into account the fuel’s moisture content, since that can affect fire intensity.
Currently, the province is under a Provincial State of Emergency due to the extreme wildfire situation. Anyone caught with a campfire can face fines in excess of $1,000 and more severe penalties for actions resulting in a wildfire.
“People must exercise extreme caution while outdoors and refrain from generating sparks or carelessly discarding cigarettes,” a press release from the Village of Valemount. “Any new wildfires place additional strain on the province’s wildfire fighting resources, and can lead to significant damage to our forests, properties and endanger lives.”
For a map of the Robson Valley Fire Zone boundaries, visit: http://ow.ly/GEYk30rPviD
A poster explaining the different categories of open burning and applicable regulations is available online: www.gov.bc.ca/openfireregs.
To report a wildfire or an open burning violation, call *5555 on a cell phone or 1-800-663-5555 toll-free.