British Columbia

B.C. fires: greater penalties for human-caused wildfires considered

As the worst wildfire season in a decade continues across B.C., the government is considering stricter penalties for those whose actions lead to a blaze.

Motorists who toss cigarette butts from cars could have their vehicles impounded.

The B.C. government is considering tougher penalties for people found to have caused wildfires in the province. (B.C. Wildfire Management Branch)

As the worst wildfire season in a decade continues across B.C., the government is considering stricter penalties for those whose actions lead to a blaze.

Along with potentially banning offenders from provincial parks or increasing the monetary fines already in place, motorists who flick cigarette butts out of their car windows could see their vehicles impounded.

"There are some who suggest that you cannot legislate against stupidity, but if exploring the possibility of increasing fines, or exploring ideas that mean more people will get the idea, than I think we should be prepared to have a look at it," Forests Minister Steve Thomson said Tuesday.

About a third of the more than 1,100 fires that have started in the province this year so far are estimated to have been caused by humans. MLA Mike Morris will be in charge of the review.

"Natural wildfires are difficult enough to deal with," said Morris. "We must be clear that human caused wildfires will not be tolerated."

Any changes are not expected to come into effect during this fire season.

Campfire ban changes

Meanwhile, the Coastal Fire Centre lifted the campfire ban Tuesday for Haida Gwaii and the two kilometre-wide strip on Vancouver Island known as the "Fog Bank".

All other campfire bans in the province remain in place.

With files from Richard Zussman

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