Skip to content

Going camping this weekend? Here's how to not start a fire

The government sent out a notice this morning asking you to “do your part to prevent wildfires” this long weekend.
Photo: Bob Kronbauer

The government sent out a notice this morning asking you to “do your part to prevent wildfires” this long weekend.

They cited the week’s record-high temperatures, lightning storms and “a dramatic spike in wildfire activity” as reasons for bringing attention to human-caused wildfires. But they don’t need an excuse; after last year, “the worst wildfire season in B.C. history”, we all need to be vigilant in making sure less of us start them.

Check out THIS recent feature we did about campfire bans in B.C. which shows historical data on when they were implemented each year and insight into when and how they go into place. It seems you’re in luck this weekend as a ban has not yet been implemented in the Coastal region. Always check HERE to see if there’s a ban in your area.

If you’re heading out into the woods to enjoy your long weekend here’s a list of campfire safety and fire precautions to note. The bottom line is to use common sense, but these are helpful:

  • Campfires must not be larger than 0.5 metres high or 0.5 metres wide.
  • Never light a campfire or keep it burning in windy conditions. Weather can change quickly and wind may carry embers to other combustible material.
  • Maintain a fireguard around the campfire. This is a fuel-free area where all flammable materials (grass, kindling, etc.) have been removed right down to the soil.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended.
  • Have a shovel or at least eight litres of water available to properly extinguish your campfire. Make sure that the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.
  • Anyone riding an all-terrain vehicle or dirt bike on Crown land must have a spark arrestor installed on the vehicle. Check the condition of the muffler, regularly clear build-ups of grass or other vegetation from hot spots, stay on dirt paths and avoid tall grass and weeds to help reduce wildfire risks.
  • Smokers must dispose of cigarette butts and other smoking material responsibly, making sure that these materials are completely extinguished.
  • The government’s natural resource officers and conservation officers conduct regular patrols throughout British Columbia, monitoring high-risk activities and looking out for potential damage. These officers also work closely with BC Wildfire Service staff to investigate the cause of wildfires, and any improper use of fire.

And a reminder from the gov:
“Anyone who lights a campfire is legally responsible for making sure it doesn’t escape. That person could be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs if his or her negligence results in a wildfire. Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, 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.”

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.