Saturday, July 03, 2010

British Columbia – New Campfire Regulations

© By Othmar Vohringer

Summer has finally come to British Columbia and for many that means sitting around campfires. If you, like me, enjoy campfires you may want to pay attention to new regulations effective on Canada Day (July 1) or it could get very expensive for you.

The new regulation is shrinking the size of campfires from one metre across (39 inches) to half metre (19 inches). The reason, according to Forest Minister Pat Bell, is to reduce the risk of wildfires caused by careless people.

In addition to this new regulation it is also required, and that makes a lot more sense to me, that some sort of fireguard has to be built around the fires, such as stones or a dirt mound. It’s also required to scrape the area free of all flammable debris, such as twigs, leaves and pine needles. A shovel and at least eight litres (2 gallons) of water must be stored at all times nearby to extinguish the fire.

Failure to comply with these new rules will result in a fine of $ 345 and additional $ 345 will be charged if a fire is lit during a campfire ban. Should a person be found guilty of starting a forest fire the punishment will be very severe. The new law states that a person starting a forest fire can be charged with paying a fee exceeding more than a million dollar and, or imprisonment.

In British Columbia every year are over 350 wildfires reported. The sizes of the fires vary from a few acres to thousands of hectares that destroy entire forests and surrounding homes. The annual damage of wildfires is estimated in excess of 300 million dollars. New laws or not if you head out on a camping, hiking, fishing or hunting trip and make a campfire use commonsense around campfires. Observe the BC fire warnings posted on highways and at park entrances.

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