WEST KOOTENAYS, B.C – After a dry August, sometimes prompting warnings of “extreme fire risk”, the Southeast Fire Centre have amended the burning restrictions.

The centre writes in a news release that category 2 open burning will be allowed throughout the Southeast Fire Centre’s jurisdiction as of noon, Tuesday.

A Category 2 open burn permits: one or two concurrently burning piles, no larger than two metres high by three metres wide, and the burning of stubble or grass over an area less than 0.2 hectares. The use of fireworks, burn barrels, burn cages, sky lanterns and exploding binary targets will also be allowed.

Category 3 open burning:

Category 3 open burning will be permitted throughout the Arrow, Kootenay Lake and Columbia fire zones within the Southeast Fire Centre’s jurisdiction.

However, a Category 3 open burning prohibition will remain in effect for the Boundary, Invermere and Cranbrook fire zones, where the following activities are still prohibited: 

* any fire larger than two metres high by three metres wide;

* three or more concurrently burning piles no larger than two metres high by three metres wide;

* the burning of stubble or grass over an area greater than 0.2 hectares;

* the burning of one or more windrows.

Anyone planning to conduct a Category 2 or Category 3 open burn in the Southeast Fire Centre (where permitted) must do the following:

* Check the local venting index (see website link below). The venting index must be “good” on the day the fire is lit and “good” or “fair” for the following day.

* Follow the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation.

* Use safe burning practices: create a fireguard around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material; never leave a fire unattended; make sure that the fire is fully extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.

* Anyone planning to conduct a Category 3 burn must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time (at no charge) by calling 1 888 797-1717. Burn registration numbers are entered in the Open Fire Tracking System, which allows the BC Wildfire Service to track open burning activity throughout B.C. 

* Check with local authorities (e.g. fire department, municipality or regional district) for any local restrictions or regulations. 

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a 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, as well as the value of resources damaged or destroyed by the wildfire.