Vancouver Island's 'fog zone' no longer exempt from fire bans
A campfire is pictured in the Broken Group Islands off the west coast of Vancouver Island in this undated image. (shutterstock)
Published Monday, April 8, 2019 3:28PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, April 8, 2019 4:59PM PDT
The crackle of campfires once echoed throughout a densely forested section of Vancouver Island’s western coast even in the driest of summers, but those carefree days appear to be over.
The "fog zone" is a two-kilometre strip of land along the outer coast of Vancouver Island. It includes communities like Port Renfrew, Bamfield, Tofino and Port Hardy.
It was a place where campfires and other types of burning were permitted, even when provincial fire bans were in place nearby – but the days of the bastion for burning are now over.
The BC Wildfire Service, along with local governments and First Nation partners, has decided to dissolve the area and allow local jurisdictions to issue fire prohibitions as they see fit.
"When the Coastal Fire Centre implements open fire prohibitions on the outer coast of Vancouver Island local government bylaws, and federal park bylaws will apply to most of that area," said Donna MacPherson with the Coastal Fire Centre in Parksville.
"Anybody who is traveling into the Tofino, Ucluelet or Bamfield area should check with the local government to check to make sure if they can have a campfire."
Following the 2018 forest fire season, which has been deemed the worst in B.C.’s history, the wildfire service assessed the need for the fog zone.
Originally implemented to regulate a sparsely populated region, it was decided that local governments, along with provincial fire prohibitions, have made the “fog zone” obsolete.
Staff with the Coastal Fire Centre say they will work with local governments, First Nations and the Pacific Rim National Park to ensure there is a smooth transition this summer.