NORTHERN VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC – More and more people are putting on backyard fires as the warmer weather comes.

The wildfire risk along the coast is low for now, but the Coastal Fire Centre is still urging people to be careful, after several reports of backyard fires leading to grass fires in recent days.

Currently, there is no province-wide ban on outdoor burning yet, but Coastal Fire Centre information officer Donna MacPherson said it’s important for residents to check with their local governments for city-specific bans first.

MacPherson added that this is the perfect time to get backyards clean before having a backyard fire.

“(This is the time) to get their properties FireSmart, and to make their homes a little more wildfire resistant,” MacPherson said.

She added that being mindful of the weather is also very important, as well as positioning the fire properly.

“If it’s hot and dry and windy, the fire will be more reactive than it would be on a day that’s quite drizzly. Make sure you situate your fire very carefully, and put it on mineral soil.”

“Monitor (the fire) at all times. That means actually standing beside it. It doesn’t mean going inside and having a cup of tea and thinking about it. It means standing beside the fire.”

As for extinguishing the fire, MacPherson said residents need to make sure the fire is completely out before leaving.

“Don’t let it burn down: put it out. That means digging around and putting water on it until it’s cold to the touch.”

For other FireSmart tips, visit the BC Wildfire Service site or FireSmart BC.