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

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Peppered Pig slays the Dragon

The competition on Wednesday night at Prince Charles Theatre featured five local business owners vying for a $1,000 gift certificate from Creston Save-On-Foods.

A photography hobby becomes a business

Lit Photo/Video is on a mission to capture the most striking images and video to showcase the beauty of everything in the Kootenays.

The politics of fear

In a chat with my boss earlier this week I told him that for the first time in my career I am actually wondering about my personal safety.

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean ‘blob’ returns to B.C.’s North Coast

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Most Read