The recent heatwave that has hit the Cariboo region has brought upon fire bans to the area. 

Starting at noon on July 31, Category 2 open burning, as well as other equipment and activities, will be banned throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre’s jurisdiction. 

Jessica Mack, the fire information officer for the Cariboo Fire Cente, said that as the temperatures increase, the fire danger rating has followed. 

“We are seeing some warmer and dryer conditions, and as a result, we are seeing an increase fire danger rating across the Cariboo Fire Centre,” she said. “We do have resources that are strategically placed within the Cariboo to ensure that there is a timely response, and we do feel that we are prepared at the money for the forecasted weather conditions.” 

The ban will remain in effect until noon on September 30, or until the public is otherwise notified.  

“What that means is specifically prohibited activities include Category 2 open fire, Category 3 open fires,” Mack said. “The use of fireworks including firecrackers, fire lanterns, tiki torches, air curtain burners, binary exploding targets, burn barrels, or burn cases of any size.” 

Anyone who is conducting a Category 2 open fire within the Cariboo Fire Centre’s jurisdiction must extinguish the fire by noon on July 31. 

“If anyone within the Central Cariboo, Quesnel, or 100 Mile fire zones plans to conduct any Category 2 open burning before the prohibition, you should do so responsibly,” she said. “That means creating a fuel break around the burn area, having a firefighting hand tools on site, monitoring the burn at all times, having water readily accessible, and not burning in windy conditions.” 

Mack said that so far, 2020 has been numbers significantly lower than the 10-year average, something she hopes can keep up. 

“The total fires that we’ve had are 31, and we’ve had 45 hectares that have burned,” she stated. “The 10-year average is actually 69, and the hectares burned is over 30,000.” 

Mack said that if caught breaking the rules of the ban, the penalty is stiff. 

“They will be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000, or if convicted in court fines up to $100,000 or sentenced to one year in jail. 

Mack added that the prohibition does not apply to campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide and does not apply to cookstoves that use gas, propane or briquettes.  

The Cariboo Fire Centre stretches from Loon Lake near Clinton in the south to the Cottonwood River near Quesnel in the north, and from Tweedsmuir Provincial Park in the west to Wells Gray Provincial Park in the east.