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Extreme fire danger prompts Vancouver BBQ ban

People gather at a Vancouver beach on a sunny April weekend in 2021. People gather at a Vancouver beach on a sunny April weekend in 2021.

Barbecues are being banned on all of Vancouver's beaches and in all city parks due to the extreme risk of wildfires.

The park board announced the prohibition Wednesday, roughly 24 hours before a campfire ban goes into effect for much of the province. Anyone who sees a "fire risk" which includes people using barbecues, people smoking, or people having bonfires is encouraged to report it by calling 311.

A spokesperson for the park board, in an email, told CTV news there is no penalty for violating the barbecue ban.

"There is no fine associated with using a BBQ during the ban but we do expect park and beachgoers to willingly comply in the interest of public safety. Park rangers will also be out in parks and beaches to educate users of hazards and remind people of the by-laws that prohibit smoking and fires, along with current BBQ usage guidelines," the statement said.

 Smoking and bonfires are never allowed in parks or on beaches and people who breach this bylaw can be fined up to $250. CTV News has asked the park board what the penalty is for violating the barbecue ban.

No other cities have announced similar bans, but several have shared reminders on social media that smoking is banned in parks and urged anyone visiting parks to exercise caution because the danger of human-caused wildfires is significant.

The BC Wildfire Service rates the danger in Vancouver and a number of nearby cities including Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby and all of the North Shore municipalities as extreme.

"New fires will start easily, spread rapidly, and challenge fire suppression efforts," the service's website explains.

In the Fraser Valley, the fire danger is rated as high, which means "the fire risk is serious" and "new fires may start easily, burn vigorously, and challenge fire suppression efforts."

Vancouver's barbecue ban comes amid persistent and unseasonable hot, dry conditions, which have meant an early and concerning start to the wildfire season in the province.

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