Water restrictions, fire bans in effect

  • Jun. 10, 2015 11:00 a.m.

With weather conditions expected to remain dry in the coming week islanders are being urged to reduce water consumption.An area stretching from Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii is currently experiencing Level 3 drought conditions, which call for voluntary water use reductions of 20 per cent or more from all municipal, agricultural and industrial users.The Observer is currently reaching out to individual community leaders for updates on the levels of water reserves. Meanwhile, staff with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations anticipate the region will likely experience significant water supply shortages in 2015, unless there is substantial precipitation between now and the end of June.Ministry staff are closely monitoring river levels and may upgrade the drought level if the weather continues to have a negative effect on stream flows and water supply. FIRE BANSBC Wildfire has issued a ban on Category 2 and Category 3 open fires throughout the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction, which includes all of Haida Gwaii. This order does not prohibit campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, and does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes.Specifically, this prohibition applies to:- the burning of any material (piled or unpiled) smaller than two metres in height andthree metres in width;- the burning of stubble or grass fires over an area less than 2,000 square metres;- the use of fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, burning barrels or burning cages of anysize or description; and- the use of binary exploding targets (e.g., for rifle target practice).Prohibitions will remain in effect until Oct. 16, 2015, or until the the Ministry of Forests notifies the public otherwise. Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

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