Campfires banned

Extremely dry conditions have forced the Ministry of Forests to ban campfires in provincial parks and on Crown and private land.

A summer tradition has been doused.

Extremely dry conditions have forced the Ministry of Forests to ban campfires today at noon in provincial parks and on Crown and private land. Several local jurisdictions have also taken similar action.

“There has been an extenuating dry period with no rain,” said Michaela Swan, an information officer with the Kamloops Fire Centre.

To emphasize the current situation, Swan points to Tuesday’s grass fire in Vernon.

It grew rapidly and came close to two homes at The Rise neighbourhood.

The ministry also has a concern that anticipated hot weather will heighten the fire risk.

“The forecast shows lighting this weekend,” said Swan, adding that the campfire prohibition allows ministry personnel to be focused on any lightning-caused fires.

“Human-caused fires divert resources away from nature-caused fires.”

This prohibition will remain in place until the public is notified that it has been rescinded.

Similar action is being taken by the City of Vernon.

“Our ban will be effective noon today, the same as Kamloops Fire Centre,” said Courtenay Pitcher, communications officer.

The Regional District of North Okanagan has initiated a ban in those portions of BX-Swan Lake and BX-Silver Star covered by fire protection service.

Other electoral areas within RDNO are covered under Ministry of Forests regulations.

A campfire ban also takes affect in Lumby, Lake Country and along North Westside Road.

Swan understands that people enjoy campfires during the summer, and she says the decision to prohibit them isn’t made lightly.

“We don’t put them in place unless we have a grave concern,” he said.