THOMPSON-OKANAGAN – Due to an elevated risk of fire across the Interior of B.C., the Kamloops Fire Centre has banned all open fires, including campfires, as of noon on Friday, July 3.
Kelsey Winter of B.C. Wildfire says the step is being taken to prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety around Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon and Kamloops. Similar steps are being taken in the Southeast and Cariboo Fire Centres this week while the Coastal Fire Centre implemented a campfire ban last week.
“The fire danger rating is currently 'high' throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre, with some areas rated 'extreme,'” Winter says in a release issued Tuesday, June 30. “With the current trend of warm and dry weather, wildfires in the region have displayed aggressive behaviour and have required additional firefighting resources. Human-caused wildfires can divert critical resources and crews from responding to naturally occurring wildfires.”
In addition to campfires, the ban applies to open fires of any size including industrial burning, fireworks, tiki torches, sky lanterns and burning barrels. It does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus with a CSA or ULC rating that uses briquettes, liquid fuel or gas, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimeters.
This ban applies to all B.C. Parks, Crown lands and private lands, but does not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has forest fire prevention bylaws and is serviced by a fire department. Many communities and regional districts have already announced campfire bans as well and people are asked to check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire within these areas.
This prohibition will remain in place until the public is otherwise notified.
A map of the area covered by the open burning prohibition and campfire ban is available online.
Anyone found breaking the ban could be issued a ticket for $345, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and face a sentence of one year in jail. In addition, anyone who causes or contributes to a wildfire could be ordered to pay all associated costs.
To report a wildfire or an open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 or *5555 on a cellphone.
For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit the B.C. Wildfire website.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
— This story was updated at 2:13 p.m., June 30, 2015, to note other communities will be implementing campfire bans as well.