Campfires require common sense

Adventure Bay blaze a powerful reminder of the risk wildfire poses to residents in the North Okanagan

The cause of the Adventure Bay blaze Saturday remains unknown, but it’s a powerful reminder of the risk wildfire poses to residents in the North Okanagan.

But it’s obvious that some people aren’t getting the message.

Over the weekend, fire wardens discovered and extinguished 21 abandoned campfires in the Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes the North Okanagan.

At the same time that firefighters were focused on Adventure Bay, limited resources could have been diverted if one or more of these 21 abandoned campfires had grown out of control and threatened private property or valuable timber stands. Firefighters also contend with lightning strikes, something that is unavoidable.

“It is paramount that the public be vigilant with fire use and other activities in the backcountry during this time of increased fire activity,” said Melissa Klassen, with the B.C. Wildfire Service.

We would urge anyone having a campfire, whether it’s the backcountry or within municipal boundaries, to be responsible. Keep the fire small and ensure that you have the required equipment to extinguish the flames when you are done.

Campfires are a North Okanagan tradition but we must all remember, that they are a privilege and not a right.

If abandoned campfires continue to be a problem, a ban may be necessary to ensure firefighters have the resources needed to ensure public safety.