This fire map shows all the registered Category 3 open burns in B.C.

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The BC Wildfire Service recently shared an image of a map that shows the locations of registered Category 3 open burns in B.C.

With that in mind, this interactive map doesn’t show wildfires. In fact, it indicates locations that are registered to have open burns, which begs the question: what exactly is a Category 3 open burn?

Vancouver Is Awesome spoke to Donna MacPherson, Fire Information Officer at BC Wildfire Service, who explained exactly just what these red markers were all about.

“First of all, these are registered Category 3 burns, but not every marker designates a burning fire,” she said. “People don’t have to tell us when they plan to start the burn, but they need to meet a number of conditions before they register to do so.”

The interactive map shows details and locations for all active Category 3 burn registrations, as well as any that expired in the last seven days.

As for what people are burning, Officer Macpherson says it is usually, “Branches, trees, roots – things that you would typically find after an area was logged. It is usually logging companies that register for these burns.”

A Category 3 open fire is described as, “a fire that burns material in piles larger than two metres high and three metres wide, windrows, or grass over an larger than 0.2 hectares (2000 square metres) in size.”

In order to light one of these fires, you must obtain a burn registration number by calling 1 888 797-1717. Further, Officer Macpherson explained that local governments may require a permit in addition to a registration number. Keep in mind, however, that it is your responsibility to check with local authorities about a permit and local burning by-laws.

For more information about registration and fire safety, see the Open Fire Tracking System.