As the sun continues to shine and wildfires continue to burn, the City of Vernon has put a citywide ban on camp fires effective Thursday, July 26 at 12 p.m.
“The recent hot and dry conditions in the region are expected to continue and fire danger ratings within the City of Vernon are now moderate to high. The ban is issued to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety,” the City said in a release.
This campfire ban will remain in place until the public is otherwise notified.
Under the ban, campfires, discarding burning substances near combustible material, open air burning, fireworks, sky lanters, tiki torches and similar kinds of torches, chimineas, outdoor stoves and other portable campfire apparatuses that are not CSA or ULC approved are prohibited and apply to all public and private lands.
These prohibitions do not apply to CSA-rated or ULC-rated cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimeters.
Non-compliance with the fire ban may result in fines up to $1,000 through the City of Vernon municipal bylaw. Sanctions through the provincial government may result in tickets for $1,150; an administrative penalty of $10,000; or, if convicted in court, fines up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
Regional District of North Okanagan
The Regional District of North Okanagan has also issued a campfire ban that will go into effect in conjunction with the City of Vernon and Kamloops Fire Centre ban.
Under the RDNO fire ban, prohibited activities include the use of fireworks (including firecrackers), sky lanterns, burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description, binary exploding targets (pre-packaged or homemade explosives, such as Tannerite, Thundershot, Gryphon, Firebird SS65, Sure Shot, or similar products), tiki torches or similar kinds of torches, chimineas, outdoor stoves and other portable campfire apparatuses that are not CSA-approved or ULC-approved.
Anyone found in contravention of the open fire prohibition is subject to sanctions through the provincial government. The RDNO campfire prohibition will remain in effect until Oct. 15 or until the public is otherwise notified.
City of Enderby
The ban, slated to go into effect simultaneous to the Kamloops Fire Centre’s prohibition, applies to the City of Enderby and the Shuswap River Fire Protection District.
“The conditions have dried out considerably over the last several weeks due to hot and dry weather, and the forecast is for this to continue,” said Enderby and District Fire Department chief Clifford Vetter. “Given the conditions and fire danger rating, I am implementing this ban to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety.”
In addition to campfires, open fires of any size, industrial burning, fireworks, tiki torches, sky lanterns and burning barrels are also prohibited. This prohibition does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus with a CSA rating that uses briquettes, liquid fuel or gaseous fuel, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres.
Property owners are encouraged to take advance precautions to make it easier to evacuate in the case of an emergency, such as developing a Household Preparedness Guide, as well as take steps to “FireSmart” their property and protect their homes, which can include simple maintenance like cleaning combustible materials (such as leaves, twigs, pine needles, and debris) from roofs, gutters, under decks, and around hedges.