Wildfire Prevention for Outdoor Recreationalists
Prevention means stopping wildfires before they start. Discarded cigarette butts, campfires, hot exhaust pipes coming into contact with dry grass and vegetation, power tools (such as chainsaws), Tiki torches and even discarded glass can all ignite a wildfire.
It is important to exercise caution when in the outdoors, not only when enjoying a campfire or off-roading in the backcountry, but also in using tools and handling, storing and disposing of materials and fuels.
Many British Columbians and visitors to our province enjoy campfires. To prevent your campfire from turning in to a wildfire be sure to;
- Check current campfire restrictions for the area you are in
- Select your campsite and campfire location carefully
- Remove all leaves, twigs and other flammable material from the area around where you plan to light your campfire
- Never have a campfire when it’s windy
- Choose a proper fire pit or make a ring of rocks at least three metres from trees, shrubs, structures and debris
- Do not leave a campfire unattended for ANY amount of time
- Keep a bucket of at least eight litres of water close by the fire at all time, and/or a hand tool (such as a shovel) to extinguish the fire properly
- Completely extinguish your campfire before you go to sleep or leave the area for any period of time.
- To extinguish your campfire, pour plenty of water on the fire and surrounding area, dousing the site of the campfire thoroughly. Stir the campfire until there are no embers and the ashes are cold to the touch.
Download the Campfire regulations poster (PDF)
Download the Campfires and Stoves pamphlet (PDF)
Other Fire Prevention Considerations
- Do not discard smoking materials from vehicles. Always use interior ashtrays.
- Motorized vehicles, particularly All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and dirt bikes, can produce a significant amount of heat from their exhaust systems. This heat can be enough to spark a wildfire. Avoid operating any motorized vehicle in tall grass and vegetation when the weather is hot and dry.
Bans and Restrictions
Depending on current and anticipated weather conditions, as well as existing fire activity, the BC Wildfire Service may implement bans and prohibitions that restrict the use of open fire (including campfires) as well as items such as fireworks, Tiki torches, burn barrels, sky lanterns, and other potential fire-starting equipment. These prohibitions are put in on a regional basis, and affect all Crown and private land not under the jurisdiction of a local authority (such as a municipality or First Nation).
For details of the current fire bans and restrictions in the province see the Fire Bans and Restrictions page. If you are within the jurisdiction of a fire department or local authority, contact them before having any manner of open fire (including fireworks, Tiki torches, etc.).
If you see a fire…
Report wildfires and columns of smoke to 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 from a cell phone.