Unseasonably warm weather has doused campfires.
The Ministry of Forests has initiated a campfire ban throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre, including the North Okanagan.
“So far to date, more than 60 percent of all wildfires in the Kamloops Fire Centre were caused by human activity,” states a ministry release.
Anyone found in contravention of an open fire ban may be issued a ticket for $345, or, if convicted in court, be fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one year in jail.
If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person may be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 and be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
This ban covers all B.C. Parks, Crown and private lands, but does not apply within the boundaries of local governments that have forest fire prevention bylaws and are serviced by a fire department.
However, the City of Vernon has decided to follow the ministry’s lead.
The city has banned campfires, fires with a special permit and industrial burning, fireworks, tiki torches and burning barrels.
“This ban applies to all areas of the city, including the Foothills and Blue Jay subdivisions, Predator Ridge, Canadian Lake Estates and the Okanagan Landing,” said Lawrie Skolrood, deputy fire chief.
“This ban will remain in place until further notice.”
The ban in Vernon does not apply to metal, ceramic or masonry barbeques with a grill and an enclosed flame fuelled by propane or briquettes which is being used for the purpose of cooking.