Fire restrictions in place for North Okanagan

  • May. 6, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Starting Sunday, open fires will be restricted  in most of the Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes the North Okanagan.

The goal of the B.C. Forest Service is to prevent human-caused wildfires and protect the public.

“The restriction will remain  in effect until Oct. 15 or until further notice,” said Michaela Swan, a B.C. Forest Service fire information officer.

Specifically, this ban prohibits:

* Burning any waste, slash or other material.

* Burning stubble or grass.

* The use of fireworks or burning barrels of any size or description.

The ban does not apply to campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, or to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or  briquettes.

People lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by  removing flammable debris from the campfire area, and must have a hand  tool or at least eight litres of water nearby to properly extinguish a  fire escape.

“The Kamloops Fire Centre is currently experiencing dry conditions and an  elevated fire hazard, which has resulted in 26 wildfires since April 1,” said Swan.

“Please ensure campfires are not lit or kept burning during windy  conditions, that adequate tools, water and people are on hand to contain a  fire, and that it is fully extinguished before leaving the area.”

This ban covers all B.C. Parks and 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.

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.

Updates on restrictions and bans can be located at http://bcwildfire.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/Bans.asp