People ignoring campfire ban in Okanagan


VERNON - Fire officials in Vernon are surprised some people are still not getting the message about the importance of campfire bans.

Twice Monday night, the Vernon Fire Department was called to illegal campfires in peoples’ backyards, deputy fire chief Lawrie Skolrood says. The first was at 9:52 p.m. on Eastside Road and had people there, while the second was at 11:49 p.m. on Quail Road and was left unattended.

“I don’t think people are getting the message. I’ve talked to other areas, and there are issues as well,” Skolrood says. “A lot of people are concerned about the dry conditions, but there’s the odd few that seem to think the ban doesn’t apply to them.”

Both fires were contained and suppressed in short order, but Skolrood says they still posed a serious risk.

“Any of them are a threat right now. It gets away, we have the perfect conditions for a fire,” he says.

A campfire ban was imposed throughout the region July 3 when the fire danger rating in the region hit ‘high’ and Skolrood says there is no excuse for people not to be aware of the prohibition.

“I think the conditions speak for themselves, you walk out there and you can’t hardly breathe with the amount of smoke in the air,” Skolrood says. “That’s without all the media attention to it. Really there’s no excuse for it — it’s a selfish act of defiance: They don’t believe it applies to them.”

People who ignore the campfire ban not only jeopardize themselves and their personal property, but also endanger neighbours, Skolrood says. The fire department is encouraging anyone who witnesses burning infractions to contact them immediately.

“The risk right now is high and consequently it takes everybody to try and avoid a major problem,” Skolrood says.

Those who violate a campfire ban are liable to face fines, Skolrood notes.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724. 

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