Burn ban coming as mid-island experiencing July-like drying conditions

By NanaimoNewsNOW Staff
May 17, 2018 - 6:18pm

Backyard burn piles will be among several types of burning banned as of noon on May 18.File photo/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — Campfires will still be allowed for the long weekend, however several other types of burning are being outlawed.

Fire information officer Jeanne Larsen with the Coastal Fire Centre said a category two prohibition comes into effect at noon on May 18 and will remain into the fall.

"Right now the fire centre is experiencing drying conditions that are comparable to normally a July 1 type of reading. We're about a month-and-a-half ahead in the drying curve," Larsen told NanaimoNewsNOW.

The category two ban covers the entire Coastal Fire Centre zone, with the exception of the "fog zone" on the west coast, and applies to things like:

  • The burning of any material (piled or unpiled) smaller than two metres high and three metres wide
  • The burning of stubble or grass fires over an area less than 2,000 square metres
  • The use of fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description
  • The use of binary exploding targets (e.g., for rifle target practice)

Larsen said things like backyard burns may seem harmless, but often aren't extinguished properly.

"It holds over and when it gets really hot and dry, all it takes is a little bit of a wind even and that fire flares up and we end up with a big fire, utilizing resources that could be much better used other places."

While Larsen said the start to this season was "substantially" slower than last year, it's basically impossible at this point to predict what type of fire season lies ahead.

Larsen encouraged people to get outside and enjoy campfires over the long weekend, but to remain diligent.

"Put out your campfires when you leave your campsite, whether it's for just a few hours or at the end of the weekend. Don't be one of those ones that's contributing to the fire statistics," she said, adding people can be held liable with fines or jail time if they start a wildfire.

Firefighters around the mid-island were busy in recent days dealing with numerous brush fires, most of them believed to be human-caused. The Coastal Fire Centre put out a small stump fire on Weigles Rd. on Wednesday.

The fire danger rating in the mid-island region is currently moderate. To report any illegal burning or a wildfire, call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cell phone.



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