The Maple Ridge Fire Department has issued notice of a total fire ban. (Black Press file)

The Maple Ridge Fire Department has issued notice of a total fire ban. (Black Press file)

Total fire ban in effect in Maple Ridge

Open wood burning already banned in City of Pitt Meadows

The Maple Ridge Fire Department has issued notice of a total fire ban.

As of noon on Thursday, Aug. 4, there will be no fires permitted within city boundaries, including campfires.

The ban will not include the use of CSA-rated or ULC-rated barbeques, camping type stoves or portable campfire apparatus using camping gas, natural gas/propane or briquette barbeques on your private property.

Also prohibited are fireworks, sky lanterns, binary exploding targets, burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description, and air curtain burners.

The fire department also noted that occasional periods of rain only temporarily reduces the wildfire/fire hazard by a small amount.

The risk rapidly increases a short time later.

The total fire ban will remain in place until Oct. 28, or until it is removed by the fire department.

Any person found in contravention of the fire ban, warned the department, will be liable to a fine of up to $1,000.

The City of Pitt Meadows fire bylaw 2688 already forbids any open flame burning of any kind, other than agricultural, throughout the year, noted deputy fire chief Dave Biggin.

This includes outdoor fireplaces and cooking pits. Propane and natural gas fires and barbeques, that are CSA approved, are permitted.

Agricultural burns are only permitted in the spring and fall and only in ALR, (Agricultural Land Reserve), under permit. There is no burning within city limits, ever, said Biggin.

“(The) provincial burning ban supports our authority, but is for the entire coastal region and crown and private lands of all campfires and open burning,” explained Biggin.

READ ALSO: Campfire ban coming to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

However, even though the ban is redundant in the city, Biggin wants the community to be cautious of possible ignition sources in and around the trails and parks.

“A discarded smoker’s material, a misused barbecue within parks, and/or careless and illegal campfire in and around our dyke system could be detrimental and cause significant danger to our City greenspaces and neighbourhoods that connect to greenspaces,” he warned.

“The weather this year has been somewhat in our favor. This could change in the coming weeks. If the fire danger rating moves to extreme in the coastal region we would then look to limit access to trails and parks as was done in years past. Please be careful when recreating in our beautiful parks and forested areas of Pitt Meadows,” added Biggin.

Pitt Meadows fire chief Mike Larsson also noted that the current fire ban may affect the agricultural burning season.

“That might be delayed in the fall if this ban is still in effect,” Larsson said.

They provincial government is warning that seasonal and above seasonal temperatures are being forecast for the second half of the summer and new wildfire starts are being anticipated.

In fact, the province reported 154 new fires within the past week.

RELATED: Campfire ban ordered for Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland

“The majority of these – 121 – are being held, are out or are under control. Nearly three-quarters of these new fires – 112 – were caused by lightning,” the province noted.

As of Aug. 3, there were 91 active wildfires throughout the province – six are wildfires of note, meaning they are especially visible or pose a threat to public safety.

The province elaborated that four of the wildfires of note are located in the Kamloops Fire Centre Region and two are in the Southeast Fire Centre Region.

So far this year, 528 wildfires have burned a total of 22,000 hectares in the province.

“As the risk of wildfires has increased significantly in the last several weeks, I urge all British Columbians to plan, prepare and stay informed of the wildfire situation in the area you are in,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests.

If there is a fire in the community, call (toll-free) 1 800 663-5555, (or *5555 from a cellphone), or use the Report of Fire function on the BC Wildfire Service app as soon as possible. Links to download the app are at the Google Play store for android and at the Apple store.

Expect to provide any information you can, in addition to being asked details about the fire.

If using the mobile app, submit with a photo. Reports with a photo will allow for almost immediate fire-behaviour assessment and can narrow the location to a very small area.

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