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Fire restrictions in Tofino and Ucluelet

“It is visitors and residents alike that struggle with this one on a yearly basis.”
Beach fire remains at MacKenzie Beach in Tofino. (Westerly file photo)

Fire restrictions have landed in Tofino and Ucluelet, though campfires and beach fires can still be enjoyed in both towns.

The B.C. Wildlife Service recently announced a ban on Category 2 and Category 3 fires in the Coastal Fire Centre region, meaning any fires over two metres high or three metres wide are prohibited.

READ MORE: Category 2, 3 fires to be banned in Southeast and Coastal Fire Centres

“The burning of garden refuse, land clearing debris, and noxious materials is not permitted anytime,” read a July 24 statement from Ucluelet’s district office. “The District will not be issuing burning permits until further notice.”

The ban will have no impact on Tofino, which traditionally does not allow Category 2 or 3 fires within its jurisdiction, though the town’s Fire Chief and Manager of Protective Services Brent Baker told the Westerly News that anyone wanting to enjoy a camp fire or beach fire must do so responsibly.

READ MORE: Burnt driftwood sparks push to ban beach fires in Tofino

“We encourage people to be safe and we encourage people to do their research and find out where they’re allowed and what that permission means,” he said. “When it comes to beach fires and campfires in general, we really appreciate and depend on everybody’s support and cooperation. It is not just visitors, it is visitors and residents alike that struggle with this one on a yearly basis.”

While camp fires and beach fire are allowed, West Coast residents and visitors are asked to check the BC Air Quality Ventilation Index and cancel their campfire plans if the index rating is “Poor.”

In Ucluelet, beach fires must be kept under one-metre wide and under one-metre high and be contained within a fire pit located below the high tide mark. Beach fires in Tofino cannot exceed 24 inches in height or diameter.

Fires in both towns must be at least three metres away from any trees or slash and a pail containing at least eight litres of water must be accessible nearby. All fires must be fully extinguished and never left unattended.

Beach fires in Tofino are limited to Mackenzie Beach and Chesterman Beach between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. and are prohibited year-round at Cox Bay and Tonquin Beach.

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Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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