Campfire ban in Whistler now in effect
With the recent heat wave in Whistler, the fire danger rating in Whistler is now high. This means that all fires (including campfires) are currently banned in Whistler. Barbeques on residential premises are still permitted provided they are used and extinguished in a safe manner; however, only propane barbeques are permitted for use in municipal parks.
Fire danger ratings, which are updated from the Provincial Wildfire Management Branch, are now posted in the advisories section on the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) website.
People are the primary cause of wildfires in the coastal region of BC, and because most of Whistler is located in interface and intermix regions (homes and businesses built among trees and other combustible vegetation, increasing the risk of fire spread), wildfire prevention is essential. Interface fire is one of the top risks identified in Whistler. An interface fire has the potential to be destructive not only to the natural environment, but also to the economy and critical resort infrastructure.
Since 2008, open air burning has not been permitted in Whistler, with the exception of campfires, under strict regulations set out in Whistler’s Fire Protection and Fireworks Bylaw.
In 2011, Whistler Fire Rescue Service (WFRS) established a process to regulate campfires year round. No outdoor fires are permitted without a permit From June 15 to September 15 each year; campfires are only permitted when the fire hazard rating is low. At all other times campfires are permitted when the fire danger is in moderate. Campfires are only permitted on non-residential premises in designated provincial, federal, or private campsites, and they are also subject to a campfire ban when the fire hazard rating in the municipality reaches “high” or “extreme.”
While the fire danger rating is high, there are restrictions on construction activity as well: High risk construction activity must cease at 1:00 p.m. each day, and a fire watch must be maintained for a minimum of two hours after construction stops.
In addition, the RMOW has been carrying out tree thinning projects since 2005 as part of the FireSmart program. Thinning involves cutting trees and brush to decrease the risk of wildfire and to help the forest mature by changing the amount of sunlight on the forest floor. This, in turn, increases both flora and fauna in the area. Read more about the FireSmart program.
For more information, contact Whistler Fire Rescue Service at 604-935-8260 or visit whistler.ca. To report a wildfire, phone 9-1-1 or 1-800-663-5555, or dial *5555 toll-free on most cellular networks.
Click here to view a CTV clip, including an interview with fire chief Rob Whitton regarding the campfire ban and wildfire prevention in Whistler.