All of the Lower Mainland has been upgraded to “extreme danger” for wildfires by the BC Wildfire Service, and this weekend is expected to be particularly volatile for fires.
Every Coastal Fire Centre station in the Lower Mainland was upgraded to a level five on Friday afternoon, the highest level possible.
Chief Fire Information Officer with BC Wildfire Service Kevin Skrepnek says the dry, hot weather is a “big concern” heading into the weekend.
“We’ve had hot and dry conditions across most of the province, and we expect that to continue for the next seven to 10 days,” he says. “Particularly for this weekend, we’re expecting a lot of strong, gusty winds.”
Skrepnek says this makes for “prime conditions” for wildfires.
“We are asking the public to be cautious,” he says. “When conditions are this hot and dry, not only fires are a concern, even the use of off-road vehicles on tall, dry grass can generate enough heat to spark a fire.”
In the Lower Mainland, temperatures broke records on Thursday, with some parts of the region reaching up to 36°C.
Campfires have been banned for the Coastal Fire Centre regions of the province, which includes the Sunshine Coast, Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park.
The following types of fire-related activities are banned:
- Campfires (any burning of “woody debris”)
- Open fires with woody debris in outdoor stoves
- Tiki torches
- Fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, burning barrels, or burning cages of any size or description
- Binary exploding targets (such as ones for rifle target practice)
Gas, propane, and charcoal barbecues, however, are still permitted for use, as well as portable campfire devices that use those methods of burning, so long as the flame is less than 15 centimetres high.
Those caught breaking the ban are subject to penalties of up to $100,000.