British Columbia is banning most open burning effective April 16.
The province has suffered major forest fires in recent years and the prospect of having to fight fires during the COVID-19 pandemic is a likely driver for the new rules.
Some 40 percent of B.C. wildfires have been caused by humans and are therefore preventable.
Though campfires will be allowed, the use of fireworks, sky lanterns and burning barrels or cages of any kind will be prohibited on public and private land, as will any fires by the resource management department. Stubble or grass burning and burning of any large brush piles will also be prohibited, the B.C. government said in a news release.
“These open burning prohibitions will reduce demands on firefighting resources and help protect the health and safety of the public, as well as B.C. Wildfire Service staff. They will also help reduce the impact of wildfire smoke on air quality and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the release said.
“It is vital B.C. Wildfire Service staff remain healthy to respond to wildfires throughout the 2020 season and ensure the B.C. Wildfire Service’s response capability is not affected.”
The province further stated that all illegal fires will be investigated and charges could be laid. Those who ignore the ban can be issued a ticket for $1,150 or be required to pay a $10,000 administrative penalty. If convicted in court of a violation, fines of up to $100,000 or up to one year in jail might apply. More information is available at http://www.bcwildfire.ca