Open burning comes with risks

Grass burning and spring cleanup fires occasionally escape control and result in wildfires

Vernon residents are being warned about the risks that come with burning.

Grass burning and spring cleanup fires occasionally escape control and result in wildfires.

“Fires that get away can quickly engulf fences, power poles and buildings and can also spread to neighbouring property or forested areas,” said Lawrie Skolrood, deputy fire chief.

In the City of Vernon, a permit can be purchased for $75 to burn yard waste on property five or more acres in size. Grass fires are a major concern for firefighters. Grass fires that get out of control can cause serious damage.

“People must remember to place a firebreak around the perimeter of the fire area,” said Skolrood.

The city also allows one-metre campfires with dry fuel.

When building a campfire, select your campsite carefully. Prepare your campfire by removing all leaves, twigs and other flammable material from the area. Choose a proper fire pit or make a ring of rocks at least three metres from trees, shrubs, structures and debris.

“Don’t leave a campfire unattended, and do keep a pail of water close by at all times,” said Skolrood.

“Be certain your campfire is completely extinguished before you go to bed or leave the area. Pour water on the fire and douse the site thoroughly. Stir the campfire until there are no embers and the ashes are cold to the touch.”

Residents can reduce the hazards of wildfire by using some of the tips found at http://embc.gov.bc.ca/ofc/interface/pdf/homeowner-firesmart.pdf

“For example, in the first 10 metres of space around your home, you can remove any shrubs, trees, deadfall or woodpiles from the area and keep your grass mowed and watered,” said Skolrood.

“Clear overhead power lines of vegetation and ensure at least a tree’s height away from nearest forest. Keep propane tanks clear of vegetation and at least 10 metres from dwellings and other buildings.”

Report wildfires to 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on cellular networks.