Complete campfire ban still in place

Conservation officers patrolling Maple Ridge, coastal area

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service wants to get out the message, this is no time to let your fire guards down.

Because if you do, it could cost you an $1,150 fine.

Maple Ridge conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said Friday that despite the bit of rain on Thursday, forest conditions are still tinder dry and the ban on any open fires in the Coastal Fire Centre that stretches from Manning Park to the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, remains in place.

“The fire prohibition has not been lifted because of the rain,” said Hunter.

Conservation officers are now out on patrol ensuring no fires are lit. In just three days, July 15 to 17, officers found more than 50 illegal campfires in the coastal area.

In Maple Ridge in Golden Ears Provincial Park, officers have responded to several local fires on the east shore of Alouette Lake.

If people are found near a campfire, everyone involved will be issued a fine. If the case leads to court action, fines can reach $100,000, with a year in jail.

The fire ban means all campfires, outdoor stove fires, tiki torches, burning barrels and fireworks (including bear bangers) are banned. The current fire danger rating is between high and extreme. Firearms practice is also banned. However, cooking stoves that use propane, gas or briquettes are allowed. Portable campfire devices that use briquettes or fuel are also allowed providing the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres.

If violations of the fire ban continues, the government could simply close certain recreational areas.

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows also have complete fire bans in place.