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Campfire ban remains in place

Dry forest conditions combined with possible lightning has officials worried



Fire officials are urging everyone to be aware of the current fire danger this long weekend. The fire danger rating in the coastal fire area, which includes Whistler and the rest of the Sea to Sky corridor, is high to extreme.

Lightning Thursday sparked more than 200 wildfires around the southern half of B.C. According to the wildfire management branch, most of those fires were small and in remote locations. There are no significant fires currently burning in the coastal area despite the lightening activity of the last few days.

Marg Drysdale with the Coastal Fire Information Office said eight small fires were started by lightning in the last few days in the area between Squamish and Pemberton. All are either being mopped up or simply being observed at this point. According to Drysdale, five of the fires are in the Pemberton area and the other three are in the Squamish area.

The resort municipality of Whistler moved the fire danger rating in Whistler from extreme down to moderate on Thursday, Aug. 1. When the extreme rating was announced restrictions were placed on the construction industry. Those restrictions have now been lifted.

The dry and hot weather has kept the Whistler Fire Rescue Service busy. Fire Chief Rob Whitton reported that his department has dealt with seven brush fires in recent weeks.

The danger rating given to Whistler by the Coastal Fire Center, as of Sunday, Aug. 4, was high. Meager Creek was given the same rating along with Pemberton. The website updated by the wildfire management branch didn’t have enough data to give a rating for the Squamish area.

A campfire ban is in place for the coastal area. Open fires aren’t permitted and the ban also includes fireworks, tiki torches, sky lanterns and burning barrels. The prohibition doesn’t apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus with a CSA or ULC rating that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, as long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres.

The ban is in place to help prevent human-caused wildfires during this current warm and dry weather trend. The forecast for Whistler and Pemberton includes the chance of thunderstorms for Sunday evening along with possible showers then more warm, dry weather from Tuesday onward.

Those who choose to ignore the burning ban face being issued a ticket carrying a fine of up to $345. Anyone who causes a wildfire could be fined up to $1 million, spend as much as three years in prison and get a bill for the cost of putting out the wildfire.

Call *5555 or 1-800-663-5555 to report smoke or a wildfire.