METRO Vancouver announced on Wednesday that it has raised the fire danger rating to extreme in all of its regional parks and greenways, and is asking the public to exercise caution when visiting these areas.
After weeks of unrelenting heat and no precipitation, regional green spaces are tinder dry and extremely sensitive to sparks and fire. Warm, sunny and dry conditions are expected to continue through the week and long weekend, with forecasted temperatures in the mid to high 20s and no significant rainfall predicted for the next week.
All regional parks and greenways, along with the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, remain open to the public at this time, but full or partial closures could be implemented in coordination with local fire authorities.
During all times under extreme fire danger rating, Metro Vancouver will increase patrols and step up enforcement to protect natural areas in regional parks and greenways from the threat of wildfires. Those found engaging in high-risk, prohibited activities could be subject to fines ranging from $500 to $10,000.
Tips for park visitors to help keep parks safe and open:
- Comply with posted signs and fire danger guidelines
- Be aware of spark and ignition sources
- Stay on designated trails
- Call 911 to report wildfires, and alert regional parks staff
- Do not smoke in Metro Vancouver regional parks or greenways, except in designated smoking areas
- Do not light campfires or use briquette barbecues or stoves
Stoves or barbecues can be used under the following circumstances:
- Only in cases where a local jurisdiction has not banned use of cooking stoves in parks and greenspaces (local bans take precedence)
- Propane barbecues and gas cooking stoves are only allowed in day use areas with picnic tables and picnic shelters, group camps and campgrounds
- Users must stay with the barbecue or stove at all times while it is lit
- Portable CSA or ULC approved campfire apparatuses with a maximum flame of 15 centimetres are permitted in supervised campgrounds only
Metro Vancouver’s regional parks system consists of 23 parks, five greenways, two ecological conservancy areas and two park reserves. Regional parks staff are trained in basic fire suppression and safety, and each park has a fire preparedness and response plan, along with wildfire suppression equipment. Local fire departments will respond to fires in regional parks, and Metro Vancouver watershed firefighters are highly trained, on call and available with specialized equipment to provide backup if necessary.
For information on fire danger ratings for each regional park, visit Metro Vancouver’s website.