Camping season and warm summer nights are around the corner and that is prompting the Kelowna Fire Department to remind residents and visitors campfires and outdoor wood burning appliances, including wood-fueled fire pits, are not permitted within city limits at any time. And the rules apply to private property too.
In addition, campfires and briquette barbecues are not allowed in city or Regional District of Central Okanagan parks. Barbecues are allowed on beaches in Kelowna. Smoking, however, is banned in all city and regional parks and as well as on beaches.
“Warm and dry conditions have created a vulnerable natural environment,” said Rick Euper, fire and life safety educator with the Kelowna Fire Department. “A spark from a campfire can easily jump and ignite surrounding kindling. It wouldn’t take much in these conditions for a fire to spread in either rural or urban areas, and the impact could be disastrous.”
Euper recommends a safer option for the backyard is a propane fire pit. But even then, he is urging the public to never leave an open-flame unattended and keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Smokers should also remember to safely dispose of their smoking materials—for example putting them out in a bucket of water.
Anyone found violating the city’s Fire and Life Safety Bylaw could face a $345 fine.
The reminder from the fire department and the city follows notice given by the Kamloops Fire Centre that open fires in all of its regional zones is now restricted. The Kamloops Fire Centre includes Kelowna.
Crews are already battling wildfires in the Kamloops fire-zone and the notice aims to help prevent human-caused wildfires.
On Saturday, a grass fire that West Kelowna Fire Rescue dubbed suspicious, broke out on the slopes of Mount Boucherie below Mission Hill Winery. While the fire was contained within a few hours later, it prompted the evacuation of the winery and 50 nearby homes for part of the evening.
Open burning has not been allowed in the regional district since April 30. Pending conditions is will be permitted after Oct. 1. A valid permit from the fire department is required to conduct open burning.
Anyone who sees smoke or fire in any park should immediately call *5-5-5-5, the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch or 9-1-1.
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