Outdoor enthusiasts have come across an expensive surprise after giant price tags were placed on trees in popular forested areas.
It’s the latest campaign launched by the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC (ORC), an attempt to warn campers and hikers about the increased fines for starting a wildfire.
The increased fines came into effect earlier this year, with prices on the tags ranging anywhere from $120,000 and as high as $1,000,000.
On the back of the price tags are printed a stern warning: “You burn it, you buy it.”
The oversized price tags were put up only for a few hours in each location, as to ensure they don’t negatively affect the environment, but the message continues to be shared across social media.
Last year, the province issued 124 fines in just three months.
Those who start fires when a ban is in place or are even found around a live campfire can be subject to a hefty fine.
“Anyone found in contravention of a fire prohibition may be fined up to $1,150. If your fire escapes and results in a wildfire, you may be fined anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million and be sentenced to a year in prison.”
Last month, 88 fires in BC were determined to be caused by humans. The sources of 57 other fires are still to be confirmed.
“When conditions are dry, it doesn’t take much to ignite a wildfire,” explains the ORC. “Discarded cigarette butts, campfires, hot exhaust pipes coming into contact with dry grass and vegetation, power tools, and even discarded glass can start a fire.”
The bans are implemented by regional fire centres based on local fire hazards or dangers, as well as the type of weather conditions expected.
In these cases, according to the BC government, “fires present an unacceptable risk” and increase the “number of ‘false-alarm’ smoke chases, wildfire phone reports, and nuisance fires.”