The restrictions include Category 2 and 3 open fires. The ban also includes the use of fireworks, sky lanterns and the use of burn barrels or cases of any size or description.
These prohibitions apply to all public and private land within British Columbia unless specified otherwise (e.g., in a local government bylaw).
“These open burning prohibitions will reduce demands on firefighting resources and help protect the health and safety of the public, as well as BC Wildfire Service staff. They will also help reduce the impact of wildfire smoke on air quality and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the BC Wildfire Service.
A strategic deployment of wildfire management resources is critical this fire season, so it is especially important to reduce the number of unnecessary, human-caused wildfires, they said in a press release, adding that it is vital BC Wildfire Service staff remain healthy to respond to wildfires throughout the 2020 season and ensure the BC Wildfire Service’s response capability is not affected.
“During the current pandemic, larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection and response capabilities. The open burning prohibitions coming into effect on April 16 should decrease the number of false alarms (where firefighters respond to a report of smoke, only to find the smoke is coming from a controlled burn and not from a wildfire).”
The prohibitions also support the BC Centre for Disease Control’s recommendation to help reduce excess air pollution.
Ministry of Environment restrictions put in place in March will remain in place until April 15.
A Category 2 open fire is an open fire, excluding a campfire, that burns piled material no larger than two metres high and three metres wide, or grass over an area less than 0.2 hectares (2000 square metres) in size.
A Category 3 open fire is a fire that burns material in piles larger than two metres high and three metres wide, windrows, or grass larger than 0.2 hectares (2000 square metres) in size. Category 3 fires also require a burn registration number.