Penticton implements fire ban as dry conditions continue | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton implements fire ban as dry conditions continue

Penticton will be implementing a burning ban in the city starting June 4, 2021.
June 03, 2021 - 7:00 PM

Continued dry weather has resulted in the first of the summer’s fire bans in the Thompson and Okanagan.

Penticton Fire Chief Larry Watkinson issued a fire ban for the City of Penticton, declaring no open burning within the city boundaries, effective tomorrow, June 4.

“The order is in alignment with the unusually dry spring and expected rapid wildfire development,” the press release stated today, June 3.

The ban doesn’t apply to Underwriter Laboratories of Canada gas rated appliances.

“It’s the fifth driest season on record in Penticton, and I want to get ahead of it. I know Penticton residents are going to get upset I took away their fire pits but we don’t want any mishaps,” Penticton fire chief Larry Watkinson said.

Paul Johnson, fire prevention officer for the City of Kelowna says Kelowna doesn’t permit campfires at any time.

"The only mediums approved in the city are charcoal, natural gas, and propane and agriculture burning is over as of April 30. Right now there shouldn’t be any burning in the City of Kelowna at all,” Johnson says.

The city has a media campaign going with billboards in the Upper Mission advising of the campfire ban. Johnson says the city has also issued media releases to try and educate the public.

“Everybody’s very concerned about what could be coming as a result of the dry weather,” Johnson says.

In Vernon, communications manager Christy Poirier says the city takes direction from the B.C. Wildfire Service.

“Currently the B.C. Wildfire Service rates Vernon’s fire danger rating as moderate to high, and in that category we don’t have any campfire ban in place at this time,” she says.

She says Fire Rescue Services monitor B.C. Wildfire Service very closely and try to make sure any bans put in place align with what is in place with the region.

Kamloops fire chief Steve Robinson says a campfire ban is in regular practice in the city.

“We follow B.C. Wildfire’s lead and the latest report doesn’t show a campfire or other ban in the Kamloops Fire Centre yet,” he says, regarding fire bans extending beyond campfires.

Kamloops Fire Centre fire information officer Madison Smith says the B.C. Wildfire Service is constantly monitoring weather and ground moisture conditions

"In terms of upcoming bans there is nothing imminent, but with this hot dry weather I’m sure a change is coming,” Smith says.

The current wildfire rating is moderate to high with patches of extreme and low in the Kamloops Fire Centre. Smith says valley bottoms are lot drier than at higher elevations at this time.

She said there is a high anticipation of some rain on the weekend, along with cooler temperatures to provide some relief from the dry conditions.

The fire centre has dealt with eight wildfires so far this week, two in the last two days.

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