Canadian Underwriter

Abandoned campfire to blame for fire in B.C., forest ministry says

September 3, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter

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An abandoned campfire was to blame for a short-lived wildfire in late August, the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations reported on Wednesday.

Reports from the public helped responders quickly contain the fire

On the Aug. 29-30 weekend, the BC Wildfire Service responded to four new human-caused wildfires in the Cariboo Fire Centre. One of those wildfires was sparked by an abandoned campfire.

This wildfire, located at Suey Bay on Horsefly Lake, was discovered on Sunday, Aug. 30. Thanks to reports from the public, crews were able to respond quickly and contain the fire, the ministry said. Thirteen firefighters and a helicopter remained on site on Wednesday to extinguish any remaining hot spots.

This wildfire is under investigation and the BC Wildfire Service is asking the public for assistance.

Although campfire bans have been lifted throughout most of B.C., they remain prohibited west of the Fraser River within the Cariboo Fire Centre’s jurisdiction. Campfires must also not be larger than 0.5 metres high by 0.5 metres wide.

The ministry said that patrols will be conducted throughout the Labour Day weekend to ensure that people are complying with provincial legislation related to campfire use and open burning. The Compliance and Enforcement Branch and the Conservation Officer Service patrolled 186 campsites within the Cariboo Fire Centre last weekend, but only issued two tickets, one for an oversized campfire and for an abandoned campfire.

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail.

As of Wednesday, there have been 1,798 wildfires in B.C. and 177 in the Cariboo Fire Centre. The fires have burned a total of 296,408 hectares across the province and 9,770 in the Cariboo Fire Centre.

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