Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations advises people not to abandon campfires

An increase of abandoned campfires throughout the Southeast Fire Centre, has fire officials urging recreationalists to exercise caution.

An increase of abandoned campfires, coupled with high temperatures throughout the Southeast Fire Centre, has fire officials urging recreationalists to exercise caution with campfires.

Fire wardens responded to 34 abandoned campfires over the recent B.C. Day long weekend, increasing the number of abandoned campfires this season to 133.

Abandoned campfires can lead to wildfires and nine campfires have escaped and caused wildfires this season.

The Southeast Fire Centre said it has responded to 49 wildfires since April 1, 28 of which were caused by humans.

With lightning in the forecast and hot and dry conditions anticipated in some areas, it is important that the public be on the lookout.

According to the Province of B.C., a person may make and use a campfire – open fire that burns piled material no larger than 0.5 metres in height and 0.5 metres in diameter – if there are no campfire restrictions in place, conditions are safe and steps are taken to ensure the fire is contained.

Also, the people lighting the fire must have the proper equipment, including a hand tool (shovel etc.), at least eight litres of water and attends to the fire to prevent it from escaping.

The people lighting and maintaining the fire must also carry out fire control and report the fire if it spreads beyond the burn area.

They must not leave it abandoned and must extinguish it before they leave the area.

The fire danger rating is currently high in the Southeast Fire Centre with the exception of the Columbia Fire Zone, which is low to moderate.

On top of the Columbia zone, the Southeast Fire Centre is comprised of the Boundary, Arrow, Kootenay, Cranbrook and Invermere zones.

It is not wise to leave a campfire unattended for obvious reasons and people caught doing this can be served with a $345 fine – if an unattended campfire leads to a wildfire, people could be liable for suppression costs and damages.

To report a wildfire or unattended campfire call 1-800-663-5555 toll free or *5555 on your cellular phone.