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Increased wildfire-related violation tickets come into force in B.C.


April 4, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter


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Increased fines for a variety of wildfire-related violation tickets came into force in British Columbia on Friday.

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Anyone caught contravening specified open burning and campfire regulations could now face fines more than three times higher than last year’s penalties. Photo: Government of British Columbia.

The province’s Ministry of Forests, Lands and Resource Operations said in a press release on Monday that anyone caught contravening specified open burning and campfire regulations could now face fines more than three times higher than last year’s penalties.

The regulatory changes were initially announced on March 10 and significantly increase ticket fines for 19 different violations under the Wildfire Act and another seven violations under the Wildfire Regulation.

These changes mean that British Columbia now has some of the highest wildfire-related violation ticket fines in Canada, the ministry reported. For example, the fine for not complying with a fire restriction under the Wildfire Act has tripled from $345 to $1,150. Failing to properly extinguish a burning substance, such as a cigarette, will now cost an offender $575, while failing to assess fire hazard will cost $767.

“The B.C. government has been taking a tougher stand on irresponsible behaviour that contributes to increased wildfire risks, in an effort to protect communities, natural resources and infrastructure from wildfire damage,” the ministry said in the release.

On average, 30 to 40% of wildfires in B.C. each year are caused by people. The 2015 fire season was one of the busiest and most expensive in recent years, with over 283,400 hectares burned and over $278 million spent on wildfire management.

Summary of new Wildfire Act and Wildfire Regulation fines

Wildfire Act violation ticket fines (effective April 1, 2016)

  • Section 2, Fail to report fire: $383
  • Section 3 (1), Drop, release or mishandle burning substance: $575
  • Section 3 (2), Fail to extinguish burning substance: $575
  • Section 5 (1), Light, fuel or use fire against regulations: $1,150
  • Section 5 (2) (a), Fail to extinguish fire: $575
  • Section 5 (2) (b), Fail to report fire: $575
  • Section 6 (1), Light, fuel or use fire against regulations, industrial: $1,150
  • Section 7 (1), Fail to assess fire hazard: $767
  • Section 7 (2), Fail to abate fire hazard: $1,150
  • Section 7 (4), Fail to comply with hazard abatement order: $1,150
  • Section 10 (3), Light, fuel or use fire against restriction: $1,150
  • Section 10 (4), Fail to comply with fire restriction: $1,150
  • Section 11 (2), Fail to comply with restricted area requirements: $767
  • Section 12 (2), Fail to comply with order restricting activity or use: $767
  • Section 13 (2), Fail to comply with order to leave area: $767
  • Section 16 (2), Fail to comply with fire control order: $575
  • Section 22 (2), Fail to stop vehicle or vessel: $575
  • Section 22 (3), Fail to provide documents: $383
  • Section 56 (2), Intentional interference, non-compliance or false statement: $1,150

Wildfire Regulation violation ticket fines (effective April 1, 2016)

  • Section 5, Fail to have sufficient fire tools: $307
  • Section 6 (3), Fail to comply with high risk activity restrictions, and keep at activity site firefighting hand tools and adequate fire suppression system: $460
  • Section 6 (4), Fail to meet fire watcher requirements: $460
  • Section 8, Operate engine contrary to regulations: $460
  • Section 9, Fail to meet fire prevention measures – railway operations: $767
  • Section 10, Fail to meet fire prevention measures – transmission operations: $767
  • Section 13 (1), Fail to meet fire suppression responsibilities: $307