Whistler and Pemberton announce full campfire bans

Both the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) and Village of Pemberton (VOP) announced campfire bans on Monday, May 13, as fires rage in northern B.C. and Alberta.

The local bans are in addition to a BC Wildfire Centre ban for the Coastal Fire Centre, set to go into effect May 17. That ban is for Category 2 and 3 burning, while the municipal bans will prohibit campfires, too.

In Whistler, Fire Chief Thomas Doherty made the decision due to dry conditions and the Truax wildfire burning near Lillooet, which is thought to be human-caused. The ban is in effect as of May 13.

"While the Coastal Fire Centre’s coverage area remains at Category 2, meaning campfires would be permitted, Chief Doherty is proceeding more cautiously," the RMOW said in a release.

"Whistler Fire Rescue Service has responded to several illegal campfires in recent weeks. A permit is required for all campfires within the Resort Municipality of Whistler. When the Fire Danger Rating is High or Extreme, no campfires are permitted."

As of yesterday, Whistler’s Fire Danger Rating was rated as Moderate. The Category 1 campfire ban will remain in place until further notice.

Find more info at whistler.ca.

In Pemberton, the ban will come into effect Wednesday, May 15 at midday, and covers Category 1 (campfires), Category 2 (Open Burning) and Category 3 (Open Burning).

The VOP urged locals to comply with the ban, and to report illegal fire activity in posting the ban’s details on Facebook. “To ensure safety, we kindly ask everyone to comply with this ban,” they wrote. “Remember your cooperation is vital in preventing wildfires. Please report any illegal fires by calling the Pemberton Fire & Rescue Hall during office hours or 911 outside of officer hours.”

Properties in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District's (SLRD) Area A are already on evacuation alert due to the out-of-control Truax wildfire in the region.

The Truax Creek fire is burning about 150 hectares near the shores of Carpenter Lake, northwest of Lillooet.

Earlier this month, Pemberton Fire Rescue, Pemberton Meadows Fire and the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) rushed to a large grass and brush fire. The fire happened in the 8900 block of Pemberton Meadows Road and spread quickly over 4.6 hectares of land.

-with files from Braden Dupuis

Roisin Cullen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Pique Newsmagazine