For Immediate Release
Sept. 12, 2003

Ministry of Forests
Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection


VICTORIA - Cooling temperatures and rain have allowed ministry officials to
re-open the province to backcountry travel, effective midnight tonight.

However, the province-wide state of emergency remains in effect and wild
fires continue to be an ongoing threat in many parts of province. There are
still 700 active fires in the province. British Columbians should exercise
extreme caution and only venture into the backcountry if absolutely

Should conditions change, including significant new human-caused fire
starts, the backcountry travel ban can be re-imposed.

Some provincial parks and protected areas, including Okanagan Mountain
Provincial Park and Myra-Bellevue Protected Area remain closed until further
notice. Specific park and protected area closures, campfire bans and other
restriction information can be obtained from park facility operators or the
B.C. Parks Web site at

The public is reminded to report wildfires by calling 1-800-663-5555 or
*5555 on most cellular networks. To report any suspicious activity, please
call the above number or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

A reward of up to $50,000 is offered for information leading to the arrest
and conviction of anyone involved in deliberately setting wildfires. Arson
is a criminal offence and is punishable by significant fines and/or

For more information on the local Forest Service restrictions, closures and
campfire bans, see the Ministry of Forests Protection Branch Web site at or contact the local forest district
office. For tourism information, contact 1-800-hellobc.