File photo of ATV. (Submitted)

File photo of ATV. (Submitted)

Off-road vehicle restrictions still in effect

BC Wildfire is reminding the public that the operation of ORVs on Crown land is prohibited.

The BC Wildfire Service is reminding the public that the operation of off-road vehicles (ORVs) and all motorcycles for recreational purposes on Crown land continues to be prohibited throughout the Southeast Fire Centre.

Many parts of the southern Interior are experiencing a prolonged drought and there is currently minimal rain in the forecast for this region. Given the number of fires currently burning in B.C., the aggressive behaviour of current wildfires and lightning in the forecast, the prevention of human-caused fires is paramount.

Jeeps, trucks or other “on-highway” vehicles must remain on constructed or defined road surfaces. The road surface must consist of a mineral soil or mixed gravel/mineral soil surface that is clear of grass, wood debris or any other flammable organic material across the entire road surface. Drivers are not allowed to go off-road in such vehicles while this prohibition is in effect.

The prohibition of off-road vehicles and on-highway vehicles does not apply to private lands or national parks. It also does not apply to emergency responders or to agriculture or commercial/industrial users who operate vehicles for farming, emergency response or business purposes.

With bow-hunting season scheduled to begin on Friday, Sept. 1, and rifle hunting season on Sept. 10, registered guides and outfitters are advised that the off-road vehicle prohibition does not apply to them while they’re using ORVs for business purposes. Such business purposes would include activities such as transporting supplies, setting up camps and general preparations for hunting operations. However, permitted ORV activities do not include guided clients using ORVs to hunt or gain access to the backcountry.

The BC Wildfire Service is continually monitoring conditions and this ORV prohibition may be expanded or rescinded as needed. It will remain in place until the public is otherwise notified.

Anyone found in contravention of this off-road vehicle prohibition may be issued a violation ticket in the amount of $767. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

To report an off-road violation, call the Report all Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1 877 952-7277.

The Southeast Fire Centre extends from the U.S. border in the south to the Mica Dam in the north and from the Okanagan Highlands and Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east. The Southeast Fire Centre includes the Selkirk Natural Resource District and the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District.

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call *5555 on a cellphone or 1 800 663-5555 toll-free. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca.

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