Open fire prohibition extended in North Okanagan

Warm temperatures raise concerns among officials about the wildfire threat

Ongoing dry conditions have fuelled tight burning restrictions in the North Okanagan.

Effective noon today (Friday), there are prohibitions on the burning of material piled larger than a half-metre high by a half-metre wide,  the burning of stubble or grass and the use of fireworks and burning barrels.

“Prohibitions will be extended to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect the public,” said Michaela Swan, with the Wildfire Management Branch.

“Due to recent warm and dry weather, 70 per cent of the region remains at a high or extreme fire danger rating.”

The prohibition does not include campfires.

Anyone found in violation of an open fire prohibition may be issued a ticket for up to $345.

Anyone who causes a wildfire through arson or recklessness may be fined up to $1 million, spend up to three years in prison and be held accountable for associated firefighting costs.

The open fire prohibition covers all B.C. Parks, Crown lands and private lands, but does not apply within the boundaries of local governments that have forest fire prevention bylaws and are serviced by fire departments.

“Check with local governments for any other restrictions before lighting a fire,” said Swan.