A 1.4 hectare wildfire near Kaleden on the west side of Skaha Lake started July 26. (BC Wildfire)

A 1.4 hectare wildfire near Kaleden on the west side of Skaha Lake started July 26. (BC Wildfire)

Be extra cautious in Okanagan backcountry B.C. Day weekend

Fire risk is expected to rise to extreme in coming weeks

The Regional District of South Okanagan Similkameen is reminding residents to be FireSmart as the peak of the summer heat rolls in.

Over the long weekend the RDOS’ FireSmart team is reminding residents and visitors to the region to be extra careful while at home or exploring the backcountry of the Okanagan.

“With the heat in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys building, the RDOS would like to remind everyone to be cautious when camping and enjoying outdoor activities in the backcountry,” said Kerry Riess, RDOS FireSmart coordinator.

“Please pay special attention to extinguishing your campfire, ensuring it is completely out. Also, report suspected wildfires to 1-800 663-5555 or *5555 from a cell phone.”

Across the region there is a high fire danger rating that is expected to rise to extreme levels in some areas over the coming days as the heat dries out fuel in the backcountry.

The RDOS has prepared several tips for people looking to go out and enjoy the wilderness while staying safe.

* Pay attention to campfire restrictions in your area and follow local fire bans. Be aware that each municipality will have its own restrictions. Also, during a campfire ban, smoking is restricted in all public areas.

* While camping in the backcountry, be sure any fires (if allowed in the area) are fully extinguished with water. Pour water until the hissing sound stops, and use your shovel to stir and break up the campfire.

* Discard cigarette butts appropriately and safely.

* If you’re riding an ATV or other motorized vehicle, hiking, or camping in the backcountry, leave nothing behind. If you see any signs of fire, report it immediately.

READ MORE: Second wildfire starts near Kaleden

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cell phone. For up-to-date information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures, and air quality advisories, you can visit bcwildfire.ca.

Wildfires can start not only in the wilderness, but also closer to civilization, and the RDOS notes that if you plan to barbecue over the summer to make sure that you do it away from any overhanging branches and to never leave it unattended.

The RDOS FireSmart team also reminds residents to be careful when using a lawnmower or weed trimmer, which have the potential to spark a fire. After using these types of power tools, it’s advised to water the area down to prevent a fire from occurring.

For further information and FireSmart tips, you can visit firesmart.rdos.bc.ca.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

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B.C. Wildfires 2022

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