Before you go making plans that involve having fires of any sort, please consider the following weather and environmental conditions that may effect you.
- Venting Index - Venting should be at least in fair condition before you consider lighting any fires. Please check out the Venting Index page and look for your region to be sure it is safe to have a fire.
- Wildfire Danger Rating - Make sure your area is not in a high to extreme rating. Some regions may even have fire bans even if you are currently in a moderate danger rating. So please contact your local fire department to inquire on any fire bans.
- Fire Bans and Restrictions - Information on categories of open fire types and the regulations and restrictions involved with each.
BEACH FIRES ARE BANNED ALL YEAR ROUND
A category 2 fire is 1 to 2 concurrently burning piles no larger than 2 metres high by 3 metres wide or Stubble or grass burning over an area less than 0.2 hectares. A simple rule to follow when there is a category 2 ban in effect is any fire bigger than the campfire is not allowed. Category 2 regulations include:
- A fuel break must be established around any category 2 burn area.
- Fireworks are banned when a category 2 fire prohibition is in effect.
- Burning barrels are banned when a category 2 fire prohibition is in effect.
- At least one person equipped with a fire-fighting hand tool must monitor the fire at all times.
A Category 3 open fire is a fire that burns material in piles larger than two metres high and three metres wide, windrows, or grass over an larger than 0.2 hectares (2000 square metres) in size. Anyone lighting a Category 3 fire must first obtain a burn registration number by calling 1 888 797-1717. These numbers are logged into the Open Fire Tracking System (OFTS) along with details about the registered burn.
A campfire is any fire smaller than 0.5 metres high by 0.5 metres wide, or 19 by 19 inches. Regulations include:
- You must have ready access to 8 litres of water or a shovel for the entire time your campfire is lit.
- Your campfire must be completely extinguished and the ashes must be cool to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time. Hot coals can reignite the fire.
- During campfire prohibitions, only a CSA or ULC approved portable campfire apparatus may be used, and the flame height must not exceed 15 centimetres.
- You must build a fire guard around your campfire.
High risk activities can be described as any activity that can produce a spark and is done in a combustible area such as on or near the forest floor or grassy area.
When the fire danger class is EXTREME and has been for three (3) consecutive days. Workers must cease all high risk activities in forest and grassland.
The shutdown will remain in effect until the fire danger class falls below EXTREME for three (3) or more days or falls below HIGH.
The Wildfire Act defines "high risk activities as:
- mechanical brushing (example: industrial scale brushing)
- disk trenching (example: mechanical preparation of logged site)
- preparation or use of explosives (example: blasting)
- using fire- or spark producing tools, including cutting tools (example: cutting torches, metal grinders)
- grinding, including rail grinding (example: angle grinder)
- mechanical land clearing (example: excavator or skidded logging or digging out stumps)
- clearing and maintaining right of way, including grass mowing (example: commercial right of way mowing; BC hydro brushing. Not residential lawn mowing)
Any of the following activities carried out in a cutback excluding a road, landing, roadside work area or log sort area in a cutback.
- operating a power saw (example: cuttng firewood off a road in a combustible area)
- mechanical tree felling, woody debris piling or tree processing, including de-limbing (example: logging activity or cutting firewood off a road in a combustible area)
- welding (example: any welding off a road)
- portable wood chipping, milling, processing or manufacturing (example: these activities when done outside of an industrial worksite within a fire protection district)
- skidding logs or log forwarding unless it is improbable that the skidding or forwarding will result in the equipment contacting rock (example: logging activity)
- yarding logs using cable systems (example: any logging activity that uses cable yarding equipment)
Can residents mow their lawn?
Residents can use their lawnmowers for cutting their lawns. If the lawn is green and requires cutting, and has been irrigated, it is likely fire resistant. If residents want to mow their lawn when it is dry and dean, we recommend holding off or using preventative measures such as pre wet and post wet lawn: and remain onsite after mowing to watch out for smouldering fires. Have fire suppression available (garden hose) and way to contact 9-1-1 if needed.
Can residents use a weed eater?
Same principles as lawn mowing, but extra precautions should be discussed with the QIFD if using metal disk blades.
Can arborists work during a high risk activities ban?
Arborists can continue to use manual tools and tools that don't cause a spark. Power saw use on green lawn areas, driveways, landings, roadways, or other ono-combustible areas may not be high risk activities. Arborists are encouraged to contact the QIFD to discuss the high risk activities restrictions as they apply to the work to be done.
Can farmers hay their fields?
Farming activities are permitted during high risk activities ban. During heightened fire risk conditions consideration should be given to the crop stage and moisture content, wind speed, the type of equipment being used, time of day and availability of emergency fire suppression equipment. If the fire danger is extreme, farmers should consider holding off haying until the fire danger drops. Farmers are also encouraged to contact the appropriate agency to discuss their planned farming activity.
Is excavating a high-risk activity?
As long as the excavation is being done on dirt or mineral soil and not on or near a combustible area like the forest floor or grassy area then excavating is not considered a high-risk-activity. Examples of excavating could be construction sites, septic tank, driveway work, etc. Excavating does not include land clearing which is high-risk activity.
Can residents use a chainsaw when not on or near the first floor or grassy area?
Power saw use on green lawn grass, driveways, landings, roadways, or other non-combustible areas may not be a high risk activity. Chainsaw use in the forest or grassy area is a high risk activity and is restricted.