Fire Bans and Restrictions

British Columbia is large and geographically diverse province. For that reason, decisions on when and where to implement fire bans and restrictions are made by B.C.’s six regional fire centres.

For details on bans and restrictions in a specific region, please select the appropriate Fire Centre below: 

Not sure which fire centre you're in?

Search your location and view which Fire Centre you're in on our interactive map.

Summary of prohibited activities and restrictions

BC Wildfire fire permitted Permitted/Unrestricted 

BC Wildfire Service click icon for more information about bans and restrictions Bans and restrictions apply to some areas (click through for more information)

BC Wildfire Service fire ban  Ban or prohibition in effect

 

Campfires

Category 2
Open Burning

Category 3
Open Burning

Forest Use 
and Area Restrictions

Cariboo Fire Centre BC Wildfire fire permitted BC Wildfire fire permitted BC Wildfire Service click icon for more information about bans and restrictions N/A
Coastal Fire Centre BC Wildfire fire permitted BC Wildfire fire permitted BC Wildfire fire permitted N/A
Kamloops Fire Centre BC Wildfire fire permitted BC Wildfire fire permitted BC Wildfire fire permitted N/A
Northwest Fire Centre BC Wildfire fire permitted BC Wildfire fire permitted BC Wildfire fire permitted N/A
Prince George Fire Centre BC Wildfire fire permitted BC Wildfire fire permitted BC Wildfire fire permitted N/A
Southeast Fire Centre BC Wildfire fire permitted BC Wildfire fire permitted BC Wildfire fire permitted N/A

Frequently Asked Questions 

 

Why is the use of fire banned?

The decision when or where to implement a fire ban is made by the regional fire centres depending on local fire hazards or dangers, the type of weather conditions forecasted and the type and level of fire activity occurring.

Bans can also be implemented in anticipation of an increase in lightning-caused fires or during critical fire situations, when the BC Wildfire Service cannot afford to risk having human-caused fires divert resources from naturally-caused ones.

In these situations, fires present an unacceptable risk and detract from detection and response capabilities by increasing the number of ‘false-alarm’ smoke chases, wildfire phone reports and nuisance fires.

The Wildfire Act and Regulation, and therefore fire bans and restrictions, apply on Crown land and private land not covered by local open burning bylaws put in place by local government (i.e. municipalities, regional districts). Contact your local municipality regarding local open burning bylaws. 

This includes forestry recreation sites, provincial and federal parks, and municipal and privately owned campgrounds not covered by municipal bylaws. BC Parks may also designate certain BC Parks campsites as ‘no campfire’ locations.

For open fires and campfires on Crown land and private land see Current Bans and Restrictions.

These restrictions do not include areas which are within the boundaries of local government and subject to local bylaws. You should also check with local government authorities before lighting any fires.

Before lighting a campfire it is also important to check the campfire policy for the campground you are staying in. For BC Parks campgrounds, see the Provincial Parks Affected by Fire Restrictions page, plus the notes for the particular campground you’re interested in, on the BC Parks website.

Current precipitation is only one of the factors that impact when bans are lifted. Long-range weather forecasts are also considered, as well as the ongoing local and provincial wildfire situation. While the risk of wildfire in your area may have decreased, the provincial wildfire situation may be different and more active. As a result, personnel from across the province may be responding to fires outside of their regional and fire centre boundaries, limiting the amount of resources available in wetter areas.

In these situations, fires also present an unacceptable risk and detract from detection and response capabilities by increasing the number of ‘false-alarm’ smoke chases, wildfire phone reports and nuisance fires.

Current procedures require all Category 3 open fires, including land clearing piles, to be registered. This makes it relatively easy to revoke or reinstate these registration numbers as local weather impacts fire danger. The BC Wildfire Service encourages the reduction of wildfire hazard from land clearing debris and has found the flexibility of the burn registration process useful to allow safe burning of large piles when weather is favourable.

Learn more about how to register a Category 3 burn

Anyone found in contravention of a fire prohibition may be fined up to $1,150. If your fire escapes and results in a wildfire, you may be fined anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million and be sentenced to one year in prison.

Review the full list of wildfire-related violation fines in B.C.

Some activities and devices are permitted when a campfire ban is in place and some are not. This varies depending on the prohibition itself; check details of the current bans and restrictions.

Often, campfire bans still allow the use of CSA-rated or ULC-rated cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or of portable campfire apparatus that use briquettes, liquid fuel or gaseous fuel, as long as the height of the flame is less than 15 cm tall. However, in extreme fire conditions these may also be prohibited.

Often, other activities are also prohibited when Category 2 open fire and/or campfire prohibitions are in force, these include:

  • Larger fires (Category 2 and Category 3)
  • Burning barrels and burning cages
  • Fireworks, fire crackers, sky lanterns
  • Binary exploding targets

During the fire season, area restrictions may apply to off-road vehicle use. Off-road vehicle operators must also ensure they follow safety requirements to avoid starting a wildfire. 

During the fire season, the BC Wildfire Service may consider implementing area closures or area restrictions for lakes or backcountry areas in order to respond to fires safely and effectively. 

Learn more about B.C.'s Off-Road Vehicle Management Framework which promotes the safe and responsible use of ORVs on Crown land and prescribed private lands.