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Hot weather sparks fire bans

As of noon Thursday (July 17) all open burning is prohibited in Nanaimo and most of coastal B.C. to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety.

The ban applies to campfires and open burning of any size or description, including fires with a burn registration number and industrial burning. Fireworks, burning barrels, tiki torches and sky lanterns are also prohibited.

The burning ban covers all B.C. parks, Crown lands and private lands. The Fog Zone and Haida Gwaii are exempt from the  ban for now.

CSA- or ULC-rated cooking stoves and portable campfire units that use gas, propane, liquid fuel or briquettes are permitted as long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres.

The fire danger rating is currently high throughout most of the B.C. coast and some areas are now rated at extreme.

The ban will remain in effect until Oct. 15 or until the public is notified that it has been rescinded.

Thursday Nanaimo announced it followed suit and banned all burning with the city limits. With the recent hot weather, Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews have responded to numerous small accidental fires. Residents are advised to use extreme caution and that rapid reporting of fires is critical.

"With the recent notice from the province of an increase to the fire risk, Nanaimo Fire Rescue is advising residents there is now a complete burn ban in the City of Nanaimo," said Capt Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer. "We want to remind residents to be careful discarding cigarettes, water your bark mulch and planters according to water restrictions and reduce garden waste on your property."

To view a map of areas under the fire ban, please visit http://bit.ly/1yov78I.

Anyone breaching the prohibition can receive a $345 ticket or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention triggers a wildfire, the person responsible could also be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, please call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

To report all fires within the city, please call 911.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, please visit the B.C. Wildfire branch website at http://bcwildfire.ca, check on Twitter @BCGovFireInfo or on Facebook at  http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo.

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