EDITORIAL: Fire ban lifted prematurely

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Despite the provincial government green-lighting campfires across the province, our little slice of land known as the North Okanagan is still a tinderbox.

And as such, local jurisdictions, including Vernon, Coldstream, Armstrong, Enderby and Spallumcheen, have decided to ignore the provincial governments’ lead and remain under a fire ban.

“The wildfire risk remains high, despite the cooler temperatures. This measure will help prevent human-caused wildfires until the hazard level drops,” said Enderby fire chief Cliff Vetter. “While we often follow the Kamloops Fire Centre’s lead on fire prevention measures, in this case the local conditions merit additional protection.”

However, the North Okanagan Regional District chose instead to end the campfire drought. What this means, then, is even though local conditions remain favourable for forest fires, people are free to light a campfire in areas such as the BX and Silver Star.

And with a fire being left unattended in Lake Country only a day after the ban was lifted, this lack of restriction has rightfully caused concern.

“My boyfriend and our buddy came across a fully burning, unattended trashed site,” said Vernon resident Brittany Booth, who wonders if the fire ban should have been kept in place. “Perhaps rescinding the fire-ban is not a great idea at this time.”

Booth is right. It certainly is tempting to spark a campfire, roast a few marshmallows and pull out the old six-string, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

We aren’t in the clear yet.

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