VANCOUVER, B.C. - Despite international attention to B.C.'s burning forests, some people are still lighting camp fires and discarding cigarettes in the woods.

Forests Minister Pat Bell had first-hand experience last weekend when he had to tell some Shuswap campers to put out a campfire they were burning in the woods.

Bell says if he had a ticket book, not only would the group have received a $345 fine, but an administrative penalty as well.

The minister says there is zero tolerance for fire in the woods and already more than 50 tickets have been issued to people breaking the rules.

Bell says fire activity in the province is at the highest level seen in his lifetime, with more than 2,300 started this season, 800 more than at the same time in the horrible fire season of 2003.

About 400 aircraft and 4,000 people are working on the fires which have cost the government more than double the original budget at $135 million.

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