iN VIDEO: Firefighters concerned about human sparked wildfires heading into hot weekend in Kamloops, Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN VIDEO: Firefighters concerned about human sparked wildfires heading into hot weekend in Kamloops, Okanagan

April 16, 2021 - 11:27 AM

With not much rain this spring, the fuels that stoke wildfires in the Thompson-Okanagan are very dry, and with a forecast for hot weather this weekend, Kamloops Fire Rescue and the B.C. Wildfire Service have teamed up to issue a warning.

The message is simple: be very careful with campfires.

A video posted today, April 16, to the Kamloops Fire Rescue Facebook page lays out why this time of year is dangerous, and what the public should do if they do plan to have a campfire.

Kamloops fire crews have already been battling grassfires in the area, many of which are suspected to be human caused because there has not been any lightning this spring.

"People abandon a campfire, a little bit of wind picks up and blows an ember into this dry grass... it can easily start a grassfire that once it hits the trees, it turns into heavy timber," Kamloops fire chief Steve Robinson said in the video.

This weekend is going to be hot in Kamloops and the Okanagan with temperatures in the mid-20s so it's expected people will be getting out to enjoy the sunshine.

B.C. Wildfire Service fire information officer Kyla Fraser said the unseasonable warm weather in the Kamloops Fire Centre means fuels are very dry.

"The most important thing to note is that human-caused fires are entirely preventable," Fraser said in the video. "If you are planning to have a fire, please make sure you don't burn while it's windy, you have enough tools and water on hand to extinguish the fire and you never leave it unattended."

Robinson said firefighters are particularly concerned about the Cooney Bay area, where they routinely put out grassfires sparked by abandoned campfires. Cooney Bay is within Kamloops city limits, where campfires are prohibited.

Fines for an unattended campfire in Kamloops can reach up to $500. It's also possible that if the culprit is identified, they could be liable for the cost of putting out the fire.

"Don't be out there having campfires, and if you see an unattended campfire and you can put it out safely, put it out," Robinson said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 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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