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Category 3 burn ban to be lifted in southeast

Category 3 burns will no longer be prohibited in the southeast as of noon Friday.

BC Wildfire Service officials said the ban is being lifted following a decrease in wildfire risk.

Even with the change, you should still take precautions if you plan on sparking a fire.

“Although recent weather patterns have reduced the wildfire risk in the region, members of the public are urged to undertake any open burning responsibly to reduce the likelihood of starting a wildfire,” said Wildfire Service officials.

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A Category 3 burn is classified as the following:

  • Three or more burn piles of material that are two metres high by three metres wide or smaller.
  • One or more burning piles bigger than two metres high by three metres wide.
  • Burning windrows (row of cut hay or grain crops).
  • Stubble or grass in an area larger than 0.2 hectares.

If you plan on conducting a Category 3 burn, you will have to get a free burn registration number ahead of time.

Officials said this number allows the BC Wildfire Service to keep tabs on open burning activity.

There are other steps you will need to take as well, according to the Wildfire Service.

“All open burning must comply with the Wildfire Act, Environmental Management Act and Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation,” said officials.

“Anyone conducting an open burn must check local venting conditions prior to lighting a fire, understand what smoke sensitivity zone the burn site is in, and meet all other obligations associated with these regulations.”

Even with this ban lifted, local governments may still have individual prohibitions, and the Wildfire Service said you should check with authorities before you light a fire of any size.

Meanwhile, while there are still wildfires burning, the recent change in weather has all but eliminated the risk.

“We have seen significantly reduced temperatures, elevated humidity, rain and even snow at higher elevations,” Southeast Fire Centre information officer Kim Wright said.

“These have all come together to significantly lower the fire danger rating to low throughout most of the Southeast Fire Centre, with some pockets of very low.”

Since the weather turned, only one new fire has been detected. There are 56 active fires, but all are under control or being held, and that number is expected to drop over the next week, Wright said.

Although the 2022 wildfire season had a slow start, things picked up in August when 283 fires were detected and remained busy well into October. In total, 427 fires this year burned 13,200 hectares, compared to the 10-year average of 316 fires and 26,000 hectares burned.

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