Soaring temperatures throughout the weekend and into next week mean an elevated wildfire risk.
Just on Friday (June 25) alone, there have already been two calls for grassfires with one in Kelowna and West Kelowna. Fortunately, fire crews quickly put them out.
But that’s why the Kelowna Fire Department (KFD) has been working diligently to mitigate potential fires. The department has been responding to fire start and is now urging the community to take precautions.
City staff said members of the fire department have been speaking to business owners along the Okanagan Rail Trail, urging them to reduce storage and combustibles around buildings. Property owners near the rail trail have also been contacted by the Property Standards Compliance Team (PSCT), telling them about fire hazards and asking them to take part in mitigating fire risk to their properties.
“While the main goal of the PCST is to act on repeated complaints from neighbours about properties and enforce as necessary, this is a much-needed proactive action to help protect our community,” fire prevention officer Paul Johnson said.
“We’re also pushing the message that campfires, pizza ovens, fire pits, Chimeneas and other outdoor wood-burning appliances are not permitted in the City of Kelowna at any time. We can’t reinforce this enough at a time when a single ember could cause a significant problem.”
The city is also reminding residents that fire crews have the ability to issue bylaw fines with regard to campfires within city limits.
“The city is conducting fuel mitigation initiatives but it is on all of us to be vigilant as well,” Johnson said.
The city offers free FireSmart assessment on properties, and the KFD continues to encourage residents to get an assessment done so they know how to prepare their property from fire damage and to mitigate wildfire spread should one spark.
More information on FireSmart assessment is available at your local fire hall. You can also check the KFD’s website.