OUR VIEW: People not heeding warnings to watch campfires

It was shocking to hear that there were 34 abandoned campfires over the B.C. Day long weekend.

It was shocking to read a press release from the B.C. Forest Service’s Wildfire Management Branch and the Southeast Fire Centre that there were 34 abandoned campfires over the B.C. Day long weekend.

While the season of summer seemed in doubt earlier, the sunshine that the area has enjoyed is here and, as of Monday, there are temperatures in the mid to high 20s later in the week but don’t be surprised if it’s actually in the mid-30s.

According to the provincial wildfire management site, the Southeast Fire Centre has a majority of areas listed at moderate or high danger and a few areas are listed at extreme – Grand Forks is located within one of the centre’s six zones.

As such, the foliage in the city,  rural areas and in the areas that are used for camping are tinder dry and the tiniest spark could cause a wildfire, whether it be from lightning or something caused by people.

In fact, since April 1, the Southeast Fire Centre says that it has responded to 73 fires, 29 which were caused by people and according to reports, B.C. has spent $57 million fighting 670 fires since April 1 as well.

It seems that every year, the forest service cautions people to be careful when using campfires – to make sure they don’t let campfires go too high and to have proper controls, tools and water nearby.

There are even bans initiated in some instances. People may be getting tired of hearing it but based on the recent release from the Southeast Fire Centre, it doesn’t seem to be sinking in and the and the number of abandoned fires last long weekend proves it.

Along with the yearly warnings to be cautious when building campfires, there is a story of a man-made wildfire that ends up doing a lot of damage.

The saying of not playing with fire because you might get burned is true.

Forestry is an important industry in the area and the fine for leaving a campfire unattended is $345, more if it leads to wildfire.

Given the amount of warnings that are issued, it should be more.

– Grand Forks Gazette

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