Burn rules loosen in Kootenays as weather eases fire concerns

Category 2 and 3 fires will be allowed in most areas — but know the regulations

Cool, wet weather is allowing fire officials to lift a ban on fireworks, grass fires and larger burn piles in most of the Kootenays.

Starting Tuesday at noon, Category 2 and Category 3 open burning prohibitions within the Southeast Fire Centre’s jurisdiction will be amended, the centre announced on Monday.

A Category 2 open burn permits:

  • one or two concurrently burning piles, no larger than two metres high by three metres wide;
  • the burning of stubble or grass over an area less than 0.2 hectares;
  • the use of fireworks, burn barrels, burn cages, sky lanterns and exploding binary targets.

Category 3 open burning will be permitted throughout the Arrow Lakes, Kootenay Lake and Columbia fire zones of the Southeast Fire Centre. However, a Category 3 open burning prohibition will remain in effect for the Boundary, Invermere and Cranbrook fire zones.

SEE: What zone are you in? Check the SEFC map

In those areas, the following are still prohibited:

  • any fire larger than two metres high by three metres wide;
  • three or more concurrently burning piles no larger than two metres high by three metres wide;
  • the burning of stubble or grass over an area greater than 0.2 hectares;
  • the burning of one or more windrows.

Anyone planning to conduct a Category 2 or Category 3 open burn in the Southeast Fire Centre (where permitted) still has to ensure there’s a good venting index for the day, follow the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulations, and use safe burning practices. They should also check with local fire authorities for local restrictions or regulations.

Anyone found in contravention of the remaining prohibitions may be fined anywhere from $1,150 to $100,000, or face a year in jail.

A person could also be ordered to pay the costs of firefighting if a fire gets out of control as well as the value of resources damaged or destroyed by the wildfire.

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