Campfire compliance sought

The Kamloops Fire Centre is urging the public to abide by the current campfire prohibition or face fines and possible prosecution

With crews tied up battling several lightning-caused fires in the region, the public is urged to be compliant with campfire bans in effect.

“On Wednesday, we had two fires in the Vernon area pop up, both lightning caused, both spot sized,” said Melissa Welsh, Kamloops Fire Centre information officer.

Along with a 0.5 hectare fire north of Falkland Tuesday, the two lightning sparked fires in the region are: east of Shuswap River (40 kilometres southeast of Mabel Lake) and two kilometres west of Hidden Lake.

With dry forest fuels and continued lightning activity in the forecast, public compliance is needed.

The Kamloops Fire Centre is urging the public to abide by the current campfire prohibition or face fines and possible prosecution.

The Conservation Officer Service has issued seven violation tickets and 11 warnings related to the prohibitions since Aug. 1, when the campfire ban went into effect.

The consequences for having a campfire or lighting fireworks include:

– A violation ticket of $345 for all people in attendance of a campfire.

– A violation ticket of $230 for all people participating in lighting fireworks.

“One of the things some people may not understand is even if you’re in attendance of the campfire you can be issued a ticket too, not just the person lighting the fire (or fireworks),” said Welsh.

Prosecution is another course of action that may result in a fine of up to $100,000 and/or a one-year imprisonment. If campfires or fireworks cause a wildfire, the person(s) responsible may be fined $1 million, face three years in prison and be required to pay for all fire suppression costs related to that fire.

Natural resource officers have responded to a number of abandoned campfires while the campfire ban has been in place.

Members of the public are reminded that if they see anyone contravening the ban, they should write a description of any vehicle in the immediate area and call the wildfire reporting line, *5555 on your cellphone, immediately.

The Kamloops Fire Centre is responding to 153 wildfires in the region, 11 of which were caused by people. During times of intense lightning activity, all personnel and resources are needed to respond to naturally occurring wildfires. Person-caused fires are preventable and tie up vital firefighting resources.

To report a wildfire or prohibited campfire, call *5555 on your cellular phone or call toll-free to 1 800 663-5555.

The fire danger rating is currently moderate to high, with some extreme spots, throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre.