Forest fire in Okanagan set hill ablaze.

Forest fire in Okanagan set hill ablaze.

Conditions extreme, total fire ban in place

Maple Ridge Fire Department has slapped a total burning ban on the city.

The Maple Ridge Fire Department has slapped a total burning ban on the city as tinder dry conditions persist.

“All camp fires, refuse fires, are prohibited. Fireworks or pyrotechnics are all prohibited,” said assistant fire chief Mark Smitton.

“Forestry, I think, is going to be pulling the plug pretty soon,” banning any campfires in Golden Ears Provincial Park, he added.

Smitton said he’s never seen it this dry, this early. Usually it takes until the end of July before conditions get this dangerous.

The Forest Fire Weather index has now moved to an extreme forest fire danger rating.

That means construction activity within the urban and rural interface will be controlled.

While campfires are banned, propane, gas or briquettes are allowed as alternatives.

Smitton also noted that smoking is not allowed on any trails or in any city parks.

Under such conditions, bark mulch fires start easily when smokers toss their butts into planters or gardens.

Never throw butts out of a vehicle and never put them in planters, says a release from the city.

Smokers have to make sure that butts or matches are completely extinguished and there’s nothing nearby such as grass or cedar trees or mulch that could catch fire easily.

Smitton said the ban is in place until further notice, until a good dumping of rain reaches the forest floor.

The Ministry of Forests had been hoping for rain Wednesday but nothing but a few drops fell.

Vancouver had its driest May since 1946.