Last summer’s campfire ban, state of emergency didn’t stop people from playing with fire | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Last summer’s campfire ban, state of emergency didn’t stop people from playing with fire

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
August 03, 2018 - 7:00 AM

Dropping a burning substance, failing to report a fire or having an illegal campfire resulted in more than $100,000 in fines during last summer’s unprecedented wildfire season.

From July to September of 2017, 124 violation tickets were handed out under the Wildfire Act, according to a recently released enforcement summary from the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

The fines, which range from $575 for dropping, releasing or mishandling a burning substance to $1,150 for lighting a fire against regulations, came out to a total of $134,000.

According to the Conservation Officer Service, last summer’s intense wildfire activity led to an increase in enforcement of wildfire laws. Thanks to changes in 2016, B.C. now has some of the highest wildfire-related ticket fines in the country.

There are a number of different violations under the Wildfire Act, each carrying a hefty sum. Failing to extinguish or report a fire is a $575 fine and failing to comply with an order restricting an activity or use is $767. The most common fine last year was lighting, fuelling or using a fire against restriction, which carries the highest fine, a whopping $1,150.

In the North and South Okanagan, 20 people received the $1,150 fine for lighting or using a fire in violation of imposed restrictions.

Those would have included one man who decided to have a campfire in the parking lot of a Kelowna soccer park and another who fell asleep while his campfire burned at a campground in Lake Country. In another case, a group of three men were ticketed for having a campfire on the Okanagan rail trail in Vernon.

Environmental enforcement fines are released on a quarterly basis by the B.C. government. As an additional deterrent beyond monetary fines, the publication also includes the names of the offending businesses and individuals.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 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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