RCMP are urging the public to respect all bans and restrictions after two Carbioo hikers ignored BC Park closures and lit a campfire during a fire ban.
Anahim Lake RCMP say on July 25 at 1:30 pm they were notified of a Satellite Positioning and Tracking distress signal (SPOT) in Tweedsmuir Park on the north side of highway 20, at Tanya Lakes near the “Alexander Mackenzie Grease Trail”.
At approximately 4:10 p.m. the hikers were successfully located and extracted by helicopter with the assistance of the BC Wildfire Service and the BC Parks staff. Upon rescue, BC Parks and Wildfire Service staff had to finish extinguishing a campfire that the two hikers were using during the previous evening.
“The hikers said they were aware of the current restrictions and were also aware of the wildfire situation within the province,” said RCMP. “BC Parks staff issued two fines totalling $1,233.00 for accessing the park while being closed and lighting a fire during a fire ban.”
There is currently one active wildfire within Tweedsmuir Park (South) that has prompted an evacuation order for several homesteads along its eastern border.
“It is fortunate for the hikers that their campfire did not create an additional wildfire within Tweedsmuir Park (South) says BC Parks Area Supervisor Steven Hodgson. “Had the hikers campfire created a wildfire within the Park, BC Parks would have had the potential to issue penalties directly under the Park Act, where fines can reach as high as $1,000,000.”
People who cause wildfires could be found liable for wildfire suppression costs, damage to Crown forests and other forest or land resources, and reforestation costs. If they are convicted in court, they could be fined up to $100,000 and up to one year in jail.
“It is unfortunate that these hiker’s blatant disregard of park closures, resulted in the diversion of valuable resources and assets which would have otherwise been used in fire suppression efforts,” says S/Sgt. Annie Linteau, Senior Media Relations Officer.