Fire danger 'extreme' in regional parks across Metro Vancouver

The fire danger rating in Metro Vancouver regional parks has been elevated to extreme, the regional authority announced Wednesday.

"After weeks of unrelenting heat and no precipitation, regional green spaces are tinder dry and extremely sensitive to sparks and fire," Metro Vancouver said in a news release.

"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."

The regional body asked people to use caution when visiting regional parks, which it said remain open for now, but could be closed, if necessary, with the help of local fire authorities.

Metro Vancouver said it will "increase patrols and step-up enforcement" while the fire danger rating in regional parks is extreme.

"Those found engaging in high-risk, prohibited activities could be subject to fines ranging from $500 to $10,000," the authority said.

To help prevent fires and ensure parks remain open, Metro Vancouver asked visitors to stay on designated trails, comply with posted signs, refrain from smoking except in designated areas, and refrain from lighting campfires or using briquette barbecues or stoves.

Propane barbecues and gas cooking stoves can be used under certain circumstances, but only if the municipality in which the park is located has not banned such equipment.

Anyone who spots a wildfire in a regional park should call 911 to report it and alert park staff, Metro Vancouver said.

Several municipalities around the region have also raised the fire danger rating to extreme in public parks in their jurisdictions, and some local governments have implemented bans on barbecues

According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, the fire danger rating is either high or extreme across nearly all of Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and the Southern Interior.