As Metro Vancouver residents prepare to enjoy the B.C. Day long weekend, they are advised that an 'Extreme' Fire Danger Rating is now in place across the region and will remain in effect until there is significant rainfall.
Persistent hot and dry weather has resulted in tinder-dry conditions throughout the region. All residents and parks visitors are urged to use caution when enjoying outdoor spaces and to be aware of any and all possible ignition sources. All fires should be immediately reported to 9-1-1.At this time, all regional parks located within Metro Vancouver remain open, with two exceptions. Sumas Mountain Interregional Park, which is jointly managed by the Fraser Valley Regional District and Metro Vancouver, is closed, as is a section of the Delta-South Surrey Regional Greenway adjacent to the Corporation of Delta's Watershed Park.Metro Vancouver continues to monitor the situation closely, and will consider potential area or park closures on a case-by-case basis in collaboration with member municipalities and local fire departments in the interest or public safety or resource protection."We encourage residents to head out and have a fun B.C. Day long weekend but to be mindful of the effects this heat is having on our region," said Metro Vancouver Chair Greg Moore. "We now have an extreme risk of fires, and an ongoing air quality advisory in place – so please be vigilant and take the necessary steps to stay safe."Under 'Extreme' Fire Danger Rating, campfires and briquette barbeques are prohibited in all regional parks. Propane barbeques and gas cook stoves are permitted in approved facilities under direct supervision only, unless prohibited by local fire authorities. As of today, several municipalities have banned propane and gas powered barbeques and cook stoves. Check Metro Vancouver's Regional Parks Fire Danger Ratings, Restrictions & Closures page for a list of affected regional parks and specific advisories for each."Metro Vancouver Regional Parks has increased patrols and monitoring of all parks, greenways and conservation areas, and is posting more signage to inform the public about the extreme fire danger," said Heather Deal, Chair of Metro Vancouver's Regional Parks Committee. "A comprehensive fire management system is also in place that includes nine fire weather stations around the region, and response plans for each regional park and watershed."The Regional Parks Regulation Bylaw includes prohibitions for starting fires, smoking, and use of unauthorized cooking devices. Fines for each offence are $500 to $1000. Park Officers will be out this weekend ensuring there is public compliance to the extent of their authority.Visitors can be a big help in detecting fires and are asked to be vigilant while hiking, camping and walking in our regional parks, greenways and conservation areas. Those who are venturing out this weekend are advised to check Metro Vancouver's website for the latest advisories.