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UPDATE: High number of abandoned campfires discovered after B.C. day long weekend

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August 02, 2016 - 2:30 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - At least 38 abandoned campfires were discovered during the B.C. day long weekend and that could lead to a ban on campfires in the Southern Interior.

Fire wardens were kept busy over the weekend putting out 38 campfires not properly extinguished, according to B.C. Wildfire.

Fire information officer Max Birkner says when more people start carelessly leaving their fires, it could have an impact on future prohibitions.

"That is one of the things that is considered when debating campfire prohibitions," Birkner says.

Anyone who leaves a campfire unattended can be fined $1,150 and if that fire turns into a wildfire, that person may be fined up to $1 million, face three years in prison and be required to pay for all related fire suppression costs.

This topic brings up images of campers leaving roaring fires behind, but simply leaving a fire unattended is considered the same as abandoning it completely.

"A lot of the time it's unintentional. Keep in mind, anytime there's a campfire that's not attended, it's considered abandoned. There must be a presence supervising the fire at all times," fire information officer Melissa Klassen says.

Meanwhile, crews have responded to 20 new wildfire starts in the Kamloops Fire Centre region since Friday, July 29. Of those, 14 were caused by lightning. The other six are believed to be human-caused, but those aren't related to the abandoned campfires.

To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call *5555 on your cellular phone or call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, visit the B.C. Wildfire website.

— This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. ,Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016 to include new information from Kamloops Fire Centre.

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