Cariboo Back Country Re-opened, But Check for Restrictions
Prince George, B.C. – The Cariboo back country has been reopened, but there are numerous restricted areas and the public is urged to check to ensure the area they plan to visit is both accessible and open to the public.
The campfire ban, and the off road vehicle ban remain in place throughout the Cariboo.
There are also about a dozen area restrictions around specific fires. “Basically, with some of the larger fires, we’ve done a 5 or ten kilometer buffer around the fire, where people are restricted from accessing” says Kevin Skrepnek, Chief Information Officer for the BC Wildfire Service, ” We do have a number of maps on B.C. Wildfire.ca to enunciate that.”
Some recreation sites and trails will be open as of noon today, but click here for details on which ones will be accessible.
Skrepnek says even with some areas open, some closed, and new restricted areas, the decision to reopen the back country was the right call “The closure we had in effect was a very extraordinary move, and it was having some very far reaching effects. Lakes and shores are considered Crown lands so people couldn’t swim or boat on lakes. Recreationally, it was cutting off access to areas, and affecting a lot of people who are responsible and affecting areas where we were seeing less of a hazard.”
He says there are large parts of the Cariboo that are not impacted by the fires “And we wanted to get a bit of a return to normalcy as soon as it was safe and practical.”
There will be plenty of patrols in the re-opened areas to ensure people are not violating the restricted zones, the campfire ban or off road vehicle bans “There is going to be no let up in enforcement patrols” says Skrepnek “That’s going to be in the form of Natural Resource Officers from our Ministry, the Conservation Officers Service, RCMP in certain cases, and fire wardens as well. Just because that back country ban has been lifted doesn’t mean there is going to be any let up in terms of patrolling.”