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Fire ban coming to Whistler, Sea to Sky Thursday

Category 2 and 3 fires to be prohibited in Coastal Fire Centre
A map of the affected areas in the Coastal Fire Centre.

With hot temperatures persisting and wildfire risk rising, the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) will institute an open fire prohibition in the Coastal Fire Centre starting Thursday.

The fire ban will come into effect at noon on Thursday, according to a release.

"Category 2 and Category 3 open fires will be prohibited throughout the Coastal Fire Centre's jurisdiction, with the exception of Haida Gwaii. This prohibition will be in place until October 31, 2023, or until the order is rescinded," read the release.

"This prohibition applies to all public and private land, unless specified otherwise (e.g., in a local government bylaw). People are asked to check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire."

Specifically, the ban refers to the following activities:

"Category 2 open fire" which means an open fire, other than a Category 1 campfire, that

  1. burns material in one pile not exceeding 2 m in height and 3 m in width,
  2. burns material concurrently in 2 piles each not exceeding 2 m in height and 3 m in width, or
  3. burns stubble or grass over an area that does not exceed 0.2 ha.

"Category 3 open fire" which means an open fire that burns

  1. material concurrently in 3 or more piles each not exceeding 2 m in height and 3 m in width,
  2. material in one or more piles each exceeding 2 m in height or 3 m in width,
  3. one or more windrows, each not exceeding 200 m in length or 15 m in width,
  4. stubble or grass over an area exceeding 0.2 ha.

Also prohibited are the activities listed below (Wildfire Act, Section 12):

  • Fireworks;
  • Sky Lanterns;
  • Binary Exploding Targets;
  • Burn Barrels or Burn Cages of any size or description; and,
  • Air Curtain Burners.

The prohibition does not apply to Category 1 campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, or to cooking stoves that use gas, propane, or briquettes.

"Anyone lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from around the campfire area and have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire," the release read.

Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire, or open fire violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cell phone. Find the latest wildfire info at