British Columbia

Petition calls for provincewide fire ban in B.C.'s backcountry

A woman in B.C.'s Cariboo region has launched a petition calling for a full fire ban in B.C.'s backcountry.

B.C. Wildfire Service says it makes more sense to issue regional bans

A wildfire burns on a mountain in the distance east of Cache Creek behind a house in Boston Flats, B.C., in the early morning hours of Monday July 10, 2017. (Darryl Dyck/CP Images)

A B.C. woman has launched a petition calling for a full fire ban in the province's backcountry, following two record-breaking wildfire seasons.

The province's wildfire service already issues regional fire bans, but Cambria Volonte says it's not enough.

The Elephant Hill wildfire, which destroyed nearly 200,000 hectares in B.C.'s Interior in 2017, landed a few kilometres from her home in the South Cariboo region.

Officials later determined the fire was human caused.

"No camp fire is worth the risk," Volonte told Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk.

"The economic risks, the emotional tariff that it puts on communities and families. My daughter's four years old and her life every summer is pretty much about fires."

As of Friday, the petition had accrued nearly 1,500 signatures.

Regional fire bans

The B.C. Wildfire Service says it makes more sense to issue regional bans.

"We're often not facing the same sort of fire danger rating in every single area of the province," said fire information officer Kyla Fraser.

Southern B.C., for instance, has a low fire danger rating right now due to precipitation in the area.

But northwestern B.C. has a high rating, Fraser said, prompting the province to issue a campfire ban Friday in the Cassiar Fire Zone.

Fire crews assess and fell dangerous trees in the southwest section of the Verdant Creek wildfire near Highway 93S in a handout photo from Parks Canada. (Canaidan Press/Parks Canada-M.Kinley )

Volonte says the regional bans can be confusing between jurisdictions.

"Am I in it? Am I not?" she said.

"If there's no fire ban in one jurisdiction and there's a ban in the next ... does it really make a difference in how fire spreads?"

'Take a stand'

Human-caused fires, which make up about 40 per cent of wildfires in B.C., aren't just the result of blatant fire use, the wildfire service's Fraser said.

Some causes are mechanical, such as a flare gun or an engine backfire, she said.

Volonte spoke to the wildfire service on Thursday about her petition.

"There's a lot of things in place that have to be done in order for them to put the provisions and put the bans in place," she said. 

"We've got to take a stand," she added. "And I hope that more people will sign the petition."

With files from CBC's Daybreak South and Daybreak North

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