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Fire preparedness in the Bulkley Valley

As the sunshine starts becoming more prominent in the Bulkley Valley, the conversations of fire season are starting to heat up says BC Wildfire Information Officer Amanda Reynolds.

“Anyone in Northern BC whether it be members of the public or industry personnel should take extra caution when doing any open burning. As the sun starts to dry things out, people will be much more active outdoors and we want them to be cognizant of the potential risks at hand.”

So what steps can be taken when using fires?

  • Before conducting any burn, check with the local fire department and local government to find out if any open burning restrictions or bylaws are in effect.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Do not burn during windy conditions. 
  • Ensure that enough resources are on hand to control the fire and prevent it from escaping.
  • 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 spreading beyond its intended size.
  • 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.

While Reynolds was quick to point out the obvious, she says smokers should not be forgotten about either.

“Nobody should be throwing their cigarette butts on the side of the road in the Bulkley Valley. If the conditions are right, that tiny ember from the cigarette could do some serious damage and make for a potential wildfire.”

Fires can be broken down into these categories:

  • A campfire is an open fire that burns material no larger than 0.5 m in height and 0.5 m in width and is used by any person for recreational purpose, or by a First Nation for a ceremonial purpose.
  • A Category 2 open fire is an open fire, excluding a campfire, that burns piled material no larger than two meters high and three meters wide, or grass over an area less than 0.2 hectares (2000 square meters) in size.
  • A Category 3 open fire is a fire that burns in piles larger than two meters high and three meters wide, windrows, or grass over larger than 0.2 hectares (2000 square meters) in size. Anyone lighting a Category 3 fire must first obtain a burn registration number by calling 1 888 797-1717.

There are currently no fire restrictions from Northwest Fire Centre. Additional information can be found here.


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