Dramatically increased fines for a variety of wildfire-related violations went into effect Friday across B.C.
The penalty for ignoring a fire restriction is now more than triple what it was a year ago, up to $1,100 from $345. Failing to properly put out a burning substance, such as a cigarette, has jumped to $575.
The fines apply to a total of 19 violations of the Wildfire Act and are among the steepest in Canada.
“We encourage everyone to do the right thing this fire season by learning more about responsible fire use and making sure they follow the rules,” wrote B.C. Minister of Forests Steve Thomson in a news release.
The province says that, on average, 30 to 40 per cent of wildfires each year are caused by humans.
Last year’s wildfire season was one of the busiest and most costly in recent years.
The B.C. Wildfire Service says close to 300,000 hectares of forest were burned, and the province spent $287 million fighting the fires, more than twice the 10-year average.