VICTORIA -- As British Columbia contends with an early summer heatwave, the province's Coastal Fire Centre says most open burning activities will be banned starting Wednesday.

Beginning June 23, category 2 and 3 open fires will be prohibited along the province's coast, with the exception of Haida Gwaii.

Category 2 fires include open fires that are between a half-metre tall and a half-metre wide by two metres tall by three metres wide, while category 3 fires are considered anything larger than two metres tall by three metres wide.

Fireworks, burn barrels, sky lanterns and binary exploding targets are also prohibited under a category 2 fire ban.

B.C.'s Coastal Fire Centre includes Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and the Gulf Islands. According to the province, more than 75 per cent of B.C.'s overall population lives within the Coastal Fire Centre's boundaries.

The upcoming fire ban does not include campfires that are smaller than a half-metre tall and wide, or cooking stoves that use propane, gas, or briquettes.

While small campfires are permitted, the Coastal Fire Centre is reminding residents that campfires must be surrounded by a fireguard – such as a ring made of stones – and that at least one person must have a hand tool capable of putting out the fire, or at least eight litres of water available to extinguish the flames.

The fire centre adds that while the province is allowing small campfires, specific municipalities may have their own bylaws, and residents are encouraged to check their local rules before starting a fire.

People found breaking B.C.'s fire ban could face a range of fines, including a $1,150 ticket, an administrative penalty up to $10,000, or a fine up to $100,000 and up to one year in prison if convicted in court. People who break the fire ban and contribute to the start of a wildfire may also be on the hook for firefighting costs.

If you spot a wildfire or someone breaking a fire ban, you can call the B.C. Wildfire Service at 1-800-663-5555.