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Fire danger rating hits 'extreme' for Metro Vancouver parks

Tinder dry conditions with no rain in the forecast means the risk of fire is high.
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Parks in Metro Vancouver face an extreme fire rating.

After weeks without rain, an extreme heat wave and several days of hot sun, Metro Vancouver parks are very, very dry.

This has led the regional district to raise the fire danger in all of its parks to "extreme," the highest of the five ratings in the province, due to "tinder dry" conditions that are "extremely sensitive to sparks and fire."

"All regional parks and greenways, along with the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, remain open to the public at this time, but full or partial closures could be implemented in coordination with local fire authorities," states the regional government in a press release.

Enforcement will be stepped up, they add, and anyone caught doing "high-risk, prohibited activities" could face fines up to $10,000.

Park users are being cautioned to be aware of any ignition source for a fire (it doesn't have to be an open flame). Smoking is banned within Metro Vancouver parks except in designated smoking areas.

Cooking comes with restrictions as well. Campfires and briquette barbecues are not allowed. In places where cooking stoves haven't been banned, propane barbecues and gas stoves are allowed in day-use areas with picnic shelters, group camp areas or campgrounds.

If a fire is spotted in a regional park area, they advise calling 911.

"Local fire departments will respond to fires in regional parks, and Metro Vancouver watershed firefighters are highly trained, on call and available with specialized equipment to provide backup if necessary," park officials state in the press release.

Closures and other restrictions can be found on their website.

As Vancouver heads into the long weekend when many are planning to get outside more extreme heat is expected.

Most of southern B.C. is rated high or extreme right now, with the Lower Mainland and southern Island regions almost uniformly rated extreme.