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A bozo's guide to wildfire season in the Southern Interior

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
July 10, 2017 - 8:00 PM

While thousands of hectares of our province go up in flames, some people clearly aren’t getting the message about being smart during fire season.

There’s a campfire ban across the Kamloops Fire Centre, which means under no circumstances can someone have a campfire. So when Salmon Arm fire crews were called to an abandoned one yesterday evening, firefighters were understandably frustrated.

Salmon Arm Fire Chief Brad Shirley says the unattended fire turned out to be five metres by five metres before B.C. Wildfire crews were able to extinguish it.

“Its extremely frustrating given the fire restrictions and the number of fires burning… that people would be that stupid,” Shirley says. “It’s a scary time for us, we’re on pins and needles and to have fires like that… it just baffles me.”

Shirley says what seems like common-sense isn’t so common for everyone and some people don’t seem to grasp the risk they pose with being careless during fire season.

“I would think it’s very obvious but it baffles me to think of how people can not think of the consequences of not only starting a large wildfire, but the financial cost to them if they were caught having a fire or being responsible for a fire,” he says.

The same goes for carelessly tossing your cigarette butts during these hot, dry and windy conditions. Over the weekend, Kamloops Fire Rescue responded to a grass fire downtown that was suspected to be caused by a discarded cigarette.

If crews didn't respond full-force and quickly as they did, it could have been devastating and a harsh reminder of a massive human-caused wildfire that burned through Barriere and McLure 14 years ago.

A carelessly discarded cigarette sparked a fire that burned for weeks and killed one pilot.

Last April, after a busy 2015 wildfire season, the provincial government released new fines for people who act carelessly with fire.

For dropping or mishandling burning substances, like cigarettes, you can face a $575 fine.

For lighting, fueling or using fire against regulations, the fine is $1,150. For failing to comply with fire restrictions you can face a fine of up to $1,150.

People who enjoy off-roading should also be extremely careful in grasslands, as a spark from the engine of a vehicle like an ATV could cause a grass fire which can turn into something much bigger.

For the latest on the wildfire situation in the province, go here.

To report a wildfire, you can call 1 800-663-5555 or dial *5555 on a cell phone.

For the provincial fire information line call 1 888-336-7378.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
InfoTel News Ltd

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