The City of Vancouver has toughened up its Fire Bylaw, and anyone caught breaking the rules could get burned.
Under the new regulations, anyone caught improperly discarding burning materials such as cigarettes could be on the hook for a $500 fine.
Captain Jonathan Gormick with Vancouver Fire Rescue says the changes were made based on experience.
“This really stems from not so much the summer of 2016 but the previous summer when it was so dry and we have a drastic increase in the number of vegetation and brush fires. Almost 100 per cent of those were attributed to carelessly discarded smoking materials. I believe there was a pretty big public outcry for some type of punitive action against those who carelessly discard a cigarette butt tossed out of a car window.”
But it’s not just smokers in the city’s crosshairs.
“Over the past two years we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of fires in vacant and unoccupied properties,” Gormick says.
Back in 2015, the department was called to just five empty home fires, that number jumped six-fold in 2016.
Owners of construction sites, vacant homes, and other such properties can now be hit with a fine of $750 per day for failing to properly secure them.
A third new fine of $500 has been put in place for anyone found to have maliciously triggered a fire alarm or falsely reported a fire.
The bylaw also now requires all residential buildings to have carbon monoxide alarms, unless they have neither any fuel-fired appliances nor an attached garage.
With files from Gord MacDonald.