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NEWS RELEASE · 7th July 2010
Ministry of Forest and Range
The Northwest Fire Centre is urging the public to be careful with campfires this week, due to hot and dry weather and forecasted lightning.

"If we catch people being careless or causing fires, we will aggressively pursue penalties for those responsible," said Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell. "We need everyone's help to prevent wildfires and ensure our resources are not unnecessarily diverted from fighting naturally occurring lightning fires."

Under new regulations announced July 1, campfires cannot be larger than 0.5 metres by 0.5 metres. Campers must also create a one-metre area around their campfire that is free of combustible material, and have at least eight litres of water or a shovel nearby. Ashes should be cold to the touch before leaving an area.

The public is also reminded that open burning prohibitions are in place across the Northwest Fire Centre, with the exception of Haida Gwaii and the North Coast forest district. All fires larger than a half-metre wide and half-metre high are prohibited. Violating a prohibition can result in a $345 fine.

The current fire danger rating in the region varies from moderate to patches of extreme. The risk of wildfire is expected to increase as higher temperatures dry out forest fuels.

Several modified response fires are expected to produce more smoke Thursday through Saturday, potentially affecting the communities of Dease Lake, Telegraph Creek and Iskut.

This season crews in the Northwest Fire Centre have responded to 29 wildfires of which 23 were human-caused. Anyone who causes a wildfire through arson or recklessness can be fined up to $1 million or spend three years in prison. If you see flames, smoke or an abandoned campfire, please report it by calling *5555 on your cellphone or phoning 1 800 663-5555.

The Northwest Fire Centre is responsible for fire suppression and forest protection from Burns Lake to Haida Gwaii and from Tweedsmuir Park to the Yukon border.

For the latest information on fire activity, visit the Wildfire Management Branch website at www.bcwildfire.ca.

For Facebook and Twitter updates, as well as details about evacuation orders and alerts, road conditions and air quality advisories, go to www.firesafebc.ca.