Dry conditions in much of southern B.C. have meant a ban on off-road use of motor vehicles for more than a month. (Black Press files)

Off-road vehicle ban carries on into hunting season

Restriction since Aug. 4 for Cariboo, Kamloops, Southeast districts

A ban on off-road use of trucks, quads and other motor vehicles in much of southern B.C. has been in place since early August to prevent wildfires, and it continues as hunting season is set to open in the province on Sunday, Sept. 10.

The restriction is in effect for the Cariboo, Kamloops and Southeast fire centres. Restrictions are not in place for the Coastal region, including Vancouver Island, and the Northwest and Prince George regions spanning the northern half of the province.

MAP: B.C. Fire Centres

The ban on using vehicles off-road does not apply to guide-outfitters using their vehicles to gain access to the backcountry for work. All others are restricted to paved, gravel or mineral soil-surfaced roads that are free of dry grass, leaves or other vegetation. They must stay on constructed road surfaces, and off single-track trails.

Violations of the off-road ban carry a fine of $767. If the activity causes a wildfire, the person responsible may also be ordered to pay firefighting and associated costs.

To report a violation, call the B.C. environment ministry’s Report all Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277. The restrictions apply to Crown land, not private land or national parks.

The severity of this year’s wildfire season and dry conditions in southern B.C. has also caused the B.C. Wildfire Service to impose complete bans on entry to backcountry, even by foot, in some areas, for the first time since the 2003 wildfire season. The public access ban remains in effect for the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District in the East Kootenay.

While backcountry access bans have been lifted in the Cariboo, Kamloops and most areas of the Southeast fire centre, access is still discouraged and off-road vehicle use remains prohibited.