Many areas of the Bulkely Valley and Lakes are already free of snow and the BC Wildfire Service is urging anyone planning on outdoor burning in the Northwest Fire Centre to take the necessary precautions.

With below average snowpack levels this winter, it won’t take long for grass to dry out and become flammable. Windy weather can exacerbate the risk of outdoor fires becoming uncontrollable. Last April, the BC Wildfire Service responded to 79 fires that burned 14,000 hectares.

If you’ve performed a Category 2 or 3 open burn in the last year, the Wildfire Service strongly suggests that you check the burn site and ensure the fire was completely put out.

There are currently no prohibitions on fires in the Northwest Fire Centre.

  • Ensure that enough resources are on hand to control the fire and prevent it from escaping.
  • Do not burn during windy conditions. Weather conditions can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires.
  • Create an appropriately sized fireguard around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material right down to the mineral soil.
  • Consider conducting smaller burns around the perimeter of the main fire site before lighting the main fire. This will create a fuel break and help prevent the fire from spreading beyond its intended size.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Make sure that your fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before you leave the area for any length of time.

If you’re planning an open burn, make sure there are no local air quality advisories in effect – fires are banned during this time. Category 3 burns require a permit – these can be obtained, at no charge, by calling 1-888-797-1717.

You can find more information about safe open burning here.