Conservation officers are conducting patrols of known recreation sites and remote campsites, taking a zero-tolerance policy on offenders of the province-wide campfire ban. (Conservation Officer Service/Facebook)

Campfire ban ignored

Three young males issued $1,150 tickets each

Ignorance to B.C.’s campfire ban has landed three local youth in hot water.

RCMP and Coldstream Fire Department were called out shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday night to a spot approximately one kilometre in on the Okanagan Rail Trail.

“There were three males having a campfire,” said fire chief David Sturgeon, adding that alcohol was also involved.

Each of the males, believed to be local residents, were issues $1,150 tickets for failure to comply with the fire ban.

“It sounded like they weren’t too cooperative in the beginning. They didn’t seem too remorseful.”

The three males, in their late teens or early 20s, claimed their fire was small.

But with dry grass and houses in the area, it wouldn’t take much for a spark to spread and cause devastation.

“No fire doesn’t mean have a small fire,” said Sturgeon.

“If your fire had taken off, even unintentionally, it’s a $1 million dine right now and potentially time in jail. Is a campfire really worth it?”

While RCMP have greater authority, in Coldstream there is zero tolerance and first offences result in a $200 fine.

“If we get called out again you get charged all the trucks and manpower,” said Sturgeon of the $500-$1,000/hour cost per truck.

He said it’s only happened once in his time with the department, where a $6,000 bill was issued.

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