While it is graduation and camping season, the Southeast Fire Centre is reminding people to use sense when having campfires.
There was the potential for catastrophe when a bonfire in the Lynch Creek area, to the north of Grand Forks, was left abandoned over the Victoria Day long weekend. Fortunately, a fire warden discovered the fire on the holiday Monday, said Southeast Centre Fire Information Officer Karlie Shaughnessy.
“What they think happened was there was just a bunch of teenagers out there partying,” explained Shaughnessy.
“We’re not sure if it was grad people or not.”
The wet weather and the fact that the warden discovered the fire meant that it was contained but Shaughnessy warns that there are consequences for people that are caught not attending their fires.
“If anyone does leave a campfire unattended, it can result in a $345 fine,” she said.
“If anyone is found to be responsible for causing a wildfire they can be subject to cover fire suppression costs and on top of that, receive a fine and or jail time.”
Terry Corley, compliance and enforcement officer for the Ministry of Forests, said that the incident is still being investigated.
Shaughnessy said that small campfires – half a metre by half a metre – are allowed and she wants to reiterate that people have campfires in proper areas.
“We want them to make sure that they have hand tools and at least eight litres of water nearby to fully extinguish the fire,” said Shaughnessy, and added that there will be fire wardens and other officials patrolling the region to ensure that people are following regulations.
“We just really want the public, especially any teenagers partying this time of year, to practice safe campfire rules and to never leave their campfires unattended,” she said.
The current fire risk in the Southeast Fire Centre is very low to low.