British Columbia

Dry weather prompts B.C. campfire ban

Fire officials are banning campfires in the southern coastal region, the Okanagan, the Thompson-Nicola region, and parts of the Cariboo as parts of B.C. continue to experience record-breaking hot and dry conditions this summer.

Parts of the south racked up record amounts of sunshine in July

Fire officials say the pattern is disturbingly similar to 2003 2:40

Fire officials are banning campfires in the southern coastal region, the Okanagan, the Thompson-Nicola region, and parts of the Cariboo as parts of B.C. continue to experience record-breaking hot and dry conditions this summer.

Wagstaffe's Weather 

Shortly after midnight on Aug. 1, rain began to fall at the Vancouver International Airport, just after the weather station recorded it's first full month without any precipitation.

More relief from the dry weather conditions could be on the way later today in the form of possible thunderstorms from a low pressure system spinning just off the southwest coast.

But thunderstorms mean lightning strikes that could start new wildfires.

On Friday, there will be more clouds and a greater chance of showers for Vancouver. Cooler temperatures will linger into Saturday.

By Sunday, a high pressure ridge will build once again off the coast bringing sunnier, more summer-like conditions. 

Effective at noon today, the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch is banning all open fires and campfires in B.C. parks as well as on Crown and private land in the southern portions of the Coastal Fire Centre, which encompassed all of Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley up to the Whistler and Pemberton areas, the Sunshine Coast,  and parts of the Central Coast.

A campfire ban is also going into effect at noon for the southern portion of the Cariboo Fire Centre, and across the Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes the areas around Lillooet, Clearwater, Salmon Arm, Vernon and Merritt.

The Central Okanagan and the Okanagan-Similkameen regional districts are also banning campfires today.

Open fire bans are in already in effect for much of southern B.C.

Fire information officer Melissa Welsh says the campfire bans apply to fires, industrial burning, fireworks, tiki torches, sky lanterns and burning barrels, but does not include cooking on propane stoves or with briquettes.  

"Any kind of fire pit that is at a campsite, if you are burning wood, those apparatus are prohibited during the campfire ban," she said.

The Wildfire Management Branch says a third of the fires it has responded to this year were caused by humans.

Breaking the ban can result in a $345 ticket. Causing a wildfire, whether by arson or recklessness, can lead to a $1-million fine and three years in jail, in addition to footing the firefighting bill.

The campfire ban is expected to continue until Oct. 15.

B.C.'s Wildfire Management Branch prohibits campfires and open fires to help prevent human-caused wildfires. (B.C. Wildfire Management Branch)

Sunniest month for Vancouver

Conditions have been especially dry in Vancouver, which had a rain-free July. It was the driest month on record and the only calendar month with no rain recorded.

Vancouver also surpassed its previous record for sunniest month after racking up about 400 hours of sunshine in July.

According to Environment Canada, Vancouver's previous record for the sunniest month was set in July of 1985.

Read more about extreme weather records set across Canada this July.