The BC Wildfire Service has lifted the Category 1 campfire ban for the Prince George Fire Centre and the Northwest Fire Centre, effective as of 12 p.m. on Aug. 11.
The announcement allows for campfires, defined as fires no larger than 0.5 metres high by 0.5 metres wide, in areas including Prince Rupert, Kitimat and Terrace. Other communites now allowed to have campfires include Fort St. James, Prince George, Mackenzie and Burns Lake.
Notably, the City of Terrace had already rescinded the campfire ban for city-owned and operated Ferry Island on July 19.
The wider lift on the prohibition comes after widespread precipitation and cooler temperatures in the regions.
BC Wildfire Service Northwest Fire Centre Information Officer Casda Thomas cited these factors as crucial in their decision to lift the ban.
“The precipitation we’ve been seeing has been helpful and it means the finer fuels have more moisture content and aren’t as ready to ignite as they would be under more drier conditions,” Thomas told Black Press Media.
A press release on Aug. 11 emphasized precautions required when lighting or using a campfire. These include having ready access to a shovel or at least eight litres of water, maintaining a fuel break free of debris or combustible materials around the campfire, and ensuring that the fire is fully extinguished with ashes cold to the touch before leaving.
Despite the uplifting news, the region’s weather remains unpredictable, Thomas said.
“Over the next few days, there is the possibility that we will have a ridge [of high pressure] build and some warmer temperatures into later next week, but we’ll just have to wait and see if that materializes,” Thomas warned.
The existing Category 2 and Category 3 fire ban remains in effect, along with prohibitions on fireworks, sky lanterns, burn barrels, and binary exploding targets. These restrictions apply to all public and private lands unless otherwise specified.
BC Wildfire Service had initially imposed the Category 1 campfire ban earlier this summer for areas east, with Terrace, Kitimat and Prince Rupert added to it on July 10.
While it’s unlikely that the fire ban will be reimposed soon, Thomas cautioned that multiple factors could impact future decisions. “It’s certainly possible that a campfire ban could happen again, but just having some warmer, drier weather doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be imposed again,” she said.