Many areas along the coast of British Columbia have been exempted from the ban on campfires. Experts remind campers to be cautious, a report said.
The ban, lifted Friday at noon, means that campfires are now allowed in the Coastal Fire Centre region, except for the southern area of Vancouver Island, where the ban is still in place.
“Fire risk ratings have dropped in many of the Coastal Fire Centre regions due to recent rain and cooler temperatures, but the public is encouraged to remain vigilant when using campfires,” states a BC Wildfire Service statement.
The campfire ban on Vancouver Island continues in the South Island Resource District. This district covers the southern third of Vancouver and extends from Victoria to Union Bay on its east coast and from Victoria to Nootka Sound on the west coast. The ban covers many islands, including Denman, Hornby, Gabriolas, Salt Spring, Pender, and other smaller islands.
Kamloops Fire Centre still enforces the ban on campfires.
Experts warn families with young children in areas where fires are allowed to burn because they are more susceptible to the dangers of campfires.
Gayanne Pacholzuk is the coordinator of BC Professional Firefighters Burn Fund, Kelowna. “Children love fire, they are super curious, and they’re very fast,” she said.
According to her, BC Children’s Hospital had twice the number of campfires and firepit burns in 2020 than it did the year before. The majority of the children were younger than five years old, so their skin was thinner and more susceptible to burns.
“During COVID everyone was camping and enjoying the great outdoors. Parents should keep that in mind.” She said that some of these injuries are quite serious.
Pacholzuk stated that caregivers should be concerned not only about the flames but also the metal around the fire pits, and any embers that might still be hot the next morning.
She added that “something that may seem hot to an adult might be devastating for a child.”
Pacholzuk suggests creating a 1-meter zone of no-kids around propane fire pits, campfires or barbecues.
“Young children want to touch everything. They don’t have as much reaction time as we adults, so they may touch something very hot and then quickly pull away. She said that children may not have the same reaction time as adults and may touch hot surfaces for a longer period of time.”
Pacholzuk, as well as the BC Wildfire Service, recommend that anyone who is heading out camping should check for local campfire restrictions.
Campfires are defined as anything less than half a meter high and half a meter wide. Campfires are allowed in the majority of the Coastal Fire Centre regions, but category 2 and 3 fires, which are larger, are still prohibited.