Fire burning across Peachland (Sandy Baldwin/Kelowna Capital News)

‘Think about the firefighters’: Butt out, stay safe and obey campfire bans

About 340 of the wildfire in B.C. so far this year have been caused by people

Think twice before bypassing campfire bans, flying drones or recreational boats near wildfires this weekend as firefighters work on the frontlines of more than 300 blazes burning across B.C.

That’s the message from the province to campers and outdoor enthusiasts, who are being asked to avoid the top three most common issues that either cause fires or prevent the experts from fighting them.

“The men and women of the BC Wildfire Service are working long hours in sometimes very difficult conditions, so I’m asking everyone to do their part to prevent wildfires and not add to their workload,” Forestry Minister Doug Donaldson said.

So far this year, BC Wildfire Service personnel have responded to 1,260 wildfires. About 340 of those, or 27 per cent, were caused by people.

READ MORE: Nearly 100 firefighters battle Placer Mountain fire

READ MORE: 5 homes evacuated due to increased activity at Snowy Mountain wildfire

In recent days, a long hot streak was met by lightning storms that sparked more than 130 wildfires Wednesday. There are currently 10 major wildfires burning in the Okanagan, Cariboo and North.

The province is urging everyone to adhere to the campfire bans, which are currently in effect in every fire centre except for the Prince George region.

Anyone found breaking the bans can be issued a violation ticket for $1,150 and may be required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000. If convicted in court, the fine can reach up to $100,000 and and paired with a one-year jail sentence.

VIDEO: B.C. wildfire crews paying close attention to storms in next 48 hours

READ MORE: 100 Mile House firefighters pull an all-nighter at large Norbord fire

If breaking the rules cause or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

Police are also reminding smokers to “butt out” their cigarettes, or risk heavy fines.

Drone operators and recreational boaters are also being asked to stay clear of areas classified as “active work sites” for fire crews. Interference with their efforts could result in large fines, or even jail time.

“When airtankers or helicopters are working around wildfires or picking up water from nearby lakes, they need lots of room to manoeuvre,” said Donaldson. “People who get in the way pose a serious safety risk for the air crews and anyone else in the area. They also cause delays in getting fires under control.”

To report a wildfire or open-burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free, or *5555 on a cellphone.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Slocan Valley to be ‘lit up’ with high-speed internet in 12 months

125 kilometres of fibre-optic cable to be laid from Nakusp to Playmor Junction

RED resort announces new ski lift

Topping lift will add new ski area to resort, reduce bottleneck on Motherload chair

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Kim Johnson retires from rec department

Johnson had worked at Grand Forks Recreation Department for 25 years

COLUMN: 2018 second-largest on record for food bank

Boundary Community Food Bank added 109 new clients last year

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

Most Read