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Off-road vehicles restricted in backcountry

The operation of any off-road vehicle for recreational purposes on Crown land is effectively prohibited throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre, Kamloops Fire Centre, and Southeast Fire Centre.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development, and BC Wildfire Service made the announcement today.

“It’s a bit of a downer as a recreater but yet as responsible users I think we all have to respect that,” says President of the Williams Lake Off Road Motorcycle Association, Sasha Kokesch.

“It’s very dry. A forest fire or a grass fire could be started by something as small as a hot brake rotor, and you bring hot exhaust pipes.”

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Kokesch says it’s not the first time that there has been a restriction and that hopefully everyone abides by it.

In addition, all on-highway vehicles must remain on defined road surfaces.

The prohibition of off-road vehicles and on-highway vehicles does not apply to private lands or national parks.  It also does not apply to emergency responders or to agriculture or commercial/ industrial users who operate vehicles for farming, emergency response or business purposes.

August is traditionally the most active month of the wildfire season.

“Given the number of fires currently burning in B.C., the elevated fire danger ratings and the extremely dry conditions in many parts of the province, the BC Wildfire Service is strongly urging British Columbians and visitors to stay out of the backcountry in these regions,” an information bulletin stated.

Anyone found in contravention of this off-road vehicle prohibition may be issued a violation ticket in the amount of $767. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

Off-road violations can be reported by calling the RAPP line at 1 877 952-7277.

The public is also reminded that almost all provincial parks and all recreation sites and trails within the Cariboo Fire Centre are closed due to wildfire risk.

The traveling public should visit “safety tips for B.C. travelers” at: www.bcwildfire.ca

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