As of Monday, April 23, Category 3 open fires will be banned through the Cariboo Fire Centre.
The ban, which will take effect in two weeks, is being put in place to prevent human-caused wildfires, according to the BC Wildfire Service, because of an increased risk in “holdover” fires at this time of year.
Holdover fires may smother undetected underground, and have a risk of flaring up later on as temperatures rise, the fire centre warns.
Any Category 3 fire must be extinguished by noon on April 23. The ban will remain in place until Sept. 29, 2018, or until the Cariboo Fire Centre says otherwise.
Category 3 open fires include any fires larger than two metres high by three metres wide, three or more concurrently burning piles, one or more burning windrow, or burning stubble or grass over an area greater than 0.2 hectares.
The prohibition does not include campfires that are under a half-metre wide or tall, and does not apply to cooking stoves.
Category 2 fires, those that are two metres high by three metres wide, or burning grass over an area less than 0.2 metres are also not included in the ban.
Anyone found burning a Category 3 open fire, may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, may be fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to a year in jail, according to the fire centre.
If the fire causes a wildfire, the centre says the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.