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Hot, dry conditions lead to fire restrictions

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Recent heat and dry weather has led fire officials to ban some types of open fires throughout the Coastal Fire Centre region.

Fires larger than two metres high and three metres wide are banned, but as of Tuesday smaller campfires are still permitted.

“We’re trying to cut down on backyard burning, and especially with the dry weather and the high winds,” explained Nicole MacLellan, fire information officer for the Coastal Fire Centre.

“…If a spark does spread, it can easily ignite with the conditions that we’re seeing.”

So far, there have only been five wildfires in the Pemberton-Squamish-Whistler area, compared to 16 this time last year. MacLellan attributes the low stats to the cold and rainy weather this spring. But with temperatures climbing into the 30s, fire officials are expecting to see those numbers rise.

And MacLellan cautioned that bans can change.

“Because all of our bans and restrictions are dependant on weather, with any hot temperatures and extreme fire danger ratings, we may input a ban on campfires, and therefore it is important to keep up to date on any restrictions.”

Before heading out into the woods, MacLellan said people should check for changes to the fire risk index, and exercise caution even with smaller fires.

“We are, of course, cautioning the public to be careful when lighting fires in and around wildlife areas and ensuring that it’s completely extinguished before leaving it unattended.”

MacLellan also recommends having appropriate hand tools and water nearby to douse a fire if it does escape control.

If anyone notices an unattended campfire or signs of a wildfire, they should call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks. To check for updates to fire bans, visit www.bcwildfire.ca .

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