Record temperatures lead to campfire ban in the North Okanagan

The fire danger rating is currently high throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre, with some areas rated extreme.

A weekend of extreme heat has burned a hole into the record books and fuelled a campfire ban.

Temperatures soared both Saturday and Sunday,  forcing residents into air-conditioned homes or to cool off at local beaches.

“It was a sizzling hot weekend,” said Lisa Coldwells, an Environment Canada meteorologist.

The high Saturday was 37.3, knocking out the old June 27 record of 35.9 set in 2006.

For Sunday, the high was 39.3 compared to the previous record of 35.4 June 28, 2008.

“Pockets of people may had 40 but we have to go with the official (monitoring) location,” said Coldwells at Coldstream Ranch.

The normal daytime high for this time of the year is 25.

While there was rain Monday night, a campfire ban takes force Friday.

“Conditions remain warm and we will see a significant drying trend throughout the rest of the week,” said Coldwells.

“It’s perfect summer weather but not great if you are trying to keep the forest from burning.”

The fire danger rating is currently high throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre, with some areas rated extreme.

“Human-caused wildfires can divert critical resources and crews from responding to naturally occurring wildfires,” said Kelsey Winter, with the B.C. Wildfire Service.

Beyond campfires, the ban applies to open fires of  any size, industrial burning, fireworks, tiki torches, sky lanterns  and burning barrels. It covers all B.C. Parks and Crown land.

All North Okanagan municipalities and regional districts have also banned campfires, as well as the Okanagan Indian Band and Splatsin First Nation.

Fines and jail time can be issued for those found violating the prohibition.

Environment Canada is forecasting a high of 29 today, followed by 33 Thursday, 34 Friday and 32 Saturday.

“When you are thinking of temperatures in the Okanagan, think of warm temperatures,” said Coldwells.

To report a wildfire or an open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 or *5555 on a cell phone.