Open burning restrictions announced for North Okanagan

Effective noon Wednesday, the size of open fires will be restricted in most of the Kamloops Fire Centre

The risk of wildfire is leading to expanded regulations.

Effective noon Wednesday, the size of  open fires will be restricted in most of the Kamloops Fire Centre to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect the public.

“Since April 1, Kamloops Fire Centre crews have responded to 43 human- caused wildfires, the largest of which has grown to about 1,400  hectares in size,” said Kayla Pepper, with the Wildfire Management Branch.

“Many of these fires resulted from poorly planned  open burning.

Anyone conducting category two or three fires must extinguish any such fires by noon today. This prohibition  will remain in effect until Oct. 15 or until further notice.

Specifically, prohibited activities include:

The burning of any waste, slash or other materials (piled or  unpiled).

The burning of more than one open fire of any size at the same time.

The burning of recreational and ceremonial fires that exceed the size specified for campfires (0.5-metres-by-0.5-metres).

Stubble or grass fires of any size over any area.

The use of fireworks, sky lanterns or burning barrels of any size or  description.

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

“This prohibition covers all B.C. Parks, Crown lands and private lands,  but it does not apply within the boundaries of a local government that  has forest fire prevention bylaws in place and is serviced by a fire  department,” said Pepper.

“Before lighting any fire, residents should check with  local civic authorities regarding any current prohibitions.”

For information about open burning and for more tips on making  responsible burning decisions, please download one of the guides to  open burning at: http://bcwildfire.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/Bans.asp

Anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition 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.

To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, dial *5555 on a cellphone  or call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free.