Maple Mountain is always a potential hot spot for fires, especially with so many people out on the trails hiking or on bikes that makes the situation even more volatile. (Photo submitted)

EDITORIAL: Fire bans should cover the entire summer

Allowing campfires still a threat to our forests as much as open burning

It’s time to get serious about protecting our valuable forests.

Whether it’s Crown land, company or individual, wishy-washy burning regulations aren’t doing any good. Add in the cigarette component, which is basically another form of burning, and humans account for around 40 per cent of all wildfires in B.C.

We simply cannot afford to have years like 2017 and 2018 again when enormous swaths of land were torched in the province. We should consider ourselves fortunate to have escaped with minimal wildfire activity by comparison last year and wet weather during June and early July this year has put us in good shape well into the summer of 2020.

RELATED: 85% of B.C. wildfires since April have been human-caused

RELATED: Fire departments urge Vancouver Island residents to be fire smart as wildfire season begins

But it can all change again in a moment’s notice and won’t take much to spark a huge blaze as we head into the warmest weather of the season. That’s why we have to be especially vigilant now to prevent any large blazes that will surely be more complicated to fight amid COVID-19.

The Coastal Fire Centre announced burning prohibitions last week for Category 2 and 3 open fires. The difference between the two categories comes down to measurements and the burning of stubble or grass over certain sized areas.

The ban also encompasses such things as fireworks, burn barrels and sky lanterns which almost goes without saying.

At the same time, campfires are still being allowed.

The time has come to ban fires of all sorts, categories and definitions throughout the months of July and August regardless of weather or any other circumstances.

Especially as it pertains to campfires, the bans are turned randomly off and on so many times during a normal summer that you’re counting on people to keep track and many just don’t bother. Enforcement becomes an issue and few people will ever wind up paying any of the threatened hefty fines for violations simply by pleading ignorance.

A sweeping ban of all types of fires will make it easy for everyone to follow and understand. Alternatives to campfires are so abundant now with propane devices there’s no need for the real thing.

For most, it’s just for the ambience, but not worth the risk of what could transpire from carelessness. It’s far more important to keep our beautiful forests intact.

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