People keep playing with fire, putting all of Maple Ridge at risk.
After ticketing four people in the first week, Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue has written another seven tickets for up to $1,000 for breaking the city fire ban in the second week.
“It’s inconceivable to me that people don’t understand that there is a complete fire ban on in the province of B.C.,” said fire chief Howard Exner.
”You cannot have a campfire anywhere in the province of B.C. I don’t understand that people here don’t get that fact.”
Maple Ridge’s ban is city-wide, encompassing rural areas where backyard burning is allowed at certain times of the year. In the urban or suburban areas, burning is never allowed.
Exner said the seven tickets were all issued to people who lit campfires in their backyards, two of which were in Silver Valley in north Maple Ridge. Some of those were in the suburbs that were near forest areas.
He added that sparks don’t need to land among the trees to start a wildfire. That can happen by having grass set alight, which can then spread to the forest.
Firefighters responded to one big backyard fire in east Maple Ridge on Sunday that was so big people thought it was a house fire. That drew three trucks from Maple Ridge and two from Mission, only to find out that the fire was caused by someone doing a backyard burn of brush or some other material.
That left the department late on calls in the downtown.
Exner said despite the rain on the weekend, the forest fire danger rating remains at high, just below the extreme level.
The department received a total of 14 complaints about people starting fires. But for half of those, people had already put out the campfires.
“To quote one of the officers, just as we arrived on scene, ‘All of a sudden a big steam cloud appeared behind the house and we found a wet campfire.’”
The fire department only responds to complaints that people call in.
Under Maple Ridge fire department’s ban:
• all camping and recreational fires regularly allowed in the open-to-burning area of Maple Ridge are now prohibited (the use of hibachis or other briquette BBQs and ULC/CSA listed propane BBQs and fire pits are permitted at this time);
• the discharge of all fireworks, sky lanterns or pyrotechnics is also prohibited during this campfire ban.
• during a fire ban, you can only use CSA-rated or ULC-rated cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or a portable apparatus that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, as long as the height of the flame is less than 15 cm.
B.C. Wildfire Service has a webpage showing how people live near forests can increases their home’s resistance to fires.
Community Wildfire Protection plan and specialized equipment and taining to deal with forest fires.
Maple Ridge also has a Wildfire Protection Plan to reduce the risks.
Campfires are banned throughout B.C., including all parks.