British Columbia

Don't forget to put out your campfires, urges B.C. wildfire service

The B.C. Wildfire Service is cautioning campers to put out their campfires after dozens of them were found still smoldering over the long weekend.

Fines for unattended campfires can reach up to $1,150 and more if they cause a wildfire

There are currently no fire bans in place in B.C., but the B.C. Wildfire Services says campers should still be prepared to put out their fires. (Getty Images)

The B.C. Wildfire Service is cautioning people out enjoying the wilderness to put out their campfires after dozens of them were found still smoldering over the long weekend.

Information officer Ryan Turcot said fire wardens extinguished roughly 58 abandoned campfires across the province over the past three days. 

"Even one human-caused is one too many, so to see 58 abandoned campfires over the course of the long weekend is somewhat disappointing," Turcot said.

A stray spark from an abandoned campfire could easily escape from a fire pit, Turcot added, possibly starting a wildfire. 

In an average year, he said, about 40 per cent of wildfires are human-caused. 

Turcot said anyone enjoying a campfire is required to have a shovel or eight litres of water nearby to put out the flames.

"It's a common misconception that it's enough once the flames are gone that you've extinguished it properly," Turcot said.

"But to fully extinguish a campfire you actually have to make sure the ashes are cool once you've left the area."

Hefty fines

Fines for leaving a campfire unattended can run up to $1,150. If the campfire causes a wildfire, the fine can reach up to $1 million in addition to three years' prison. 

There are no campground fire bans in place in any of the province's six fire centres, but fires need to be smaller than a half-metre high by a half-metre wide.

Some municipalities may have their own fire bans in place, however. Mayne Island, for instance, has had a fire ban in place since May

Although the summer of 2016 has been cooler and less smokey than past years, the wildfire services warns that could begin to change as hot weather has arrived throughout much of the province and wildfire danger is again creeping up.

With files from Deborah Goble