July 30, 2013 - 5:02 PM
All campfires will be prohibited across the Kamloops Fire Centre beginning on Thursday.
"We've been at a pretty escalated fire danger rating for quite some time now," said Kevin Skrepnek, fire information officer. "This decision was necessary."
The areas affected are demonstrated in the map to the left and include Vernon, Penticton and Kelowna as well as Kamloops.
Heading into the long weekend, a lot of people are headed for the back country, and Skrepnek said the forecast is concerning.
The centre is reporting that the recent warm and dry weather trend in the area has prompted very aggressive wildfire behaviour in the region.
The prohibition starts at noon on Thursday and applies to open fires of any size, fires with a burn registration number, industrial burning, fireworks, tiki torches, sky lanterns and burning barrels.
"Until we've announced otherwise, it will be in place," Skrepnek said.
Skrepnek said fire wardens and officers from the Compliance and Enforcement branch will be conducting patrols throughout the long weekend.
Those found to be in contravention of the prohibition may face a $345 fine, and for those who start a fire — the bill could be a lot steeper and may even lead to jail-time.
"They can actually be accountable for any costs of putting it out," Skrepnek said.
However, there are a few safer and legal ways to enjoy a fire this long weekend.
The prohibition doesn't apply to gas booking stoves, propane or briquettes, or portable campfires with a CSA or ULC rating that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel — just keep the flame less than 15 centimetres.
"Those are absolutely allowed," Skrepnek said.
While a prohibition will aid in wildfire prevention, Skrepnek warns of other ways to start a wildfire, such as discarded cigarettes and sparks from all-terrain vehicles.
"We just want to make sure people are being cautious regardless of what they're doing," he said.
To report a wildfire dial 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 from a cell phone.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013