Despite the thumbs up from the province to go ahead and have campfires, several North Okanagan jurisdictions are putting their foot down.
Vernon, Coldstream, Armstrong, Spallumcheen and Enderby are keeping fire bans in place due to the tinder dry conditions.
“The wildfire risk remains high, despite the cooler temperatures. This measure will help prevent human-caused wildfires until the hazard level drops,” said Enderby fire chief Cliff Vetter. “While we often follow the Kamloops Fire Centre’s lead on fire prevention measures, in this case the local conditions merit additional protection.”
But if you live in the North Okanagan Regional District, you can have a fire.
“We prefer people not to,” said BX-Swan Lake fire chief Bill Wacey. “But I can’t imagine people are going to do anything stupid anyways.”
Wacey would have liked to follow suit with his neighbouring jurisdictions and keep the ban in place, but the current bylaw does not allow it.
Therefore he reminds those who are looking forward to enjoying some time around the campfire to do so responsibly.
“You are allowed a cook fire but make sure it’s small, make sure it’s discreet and make sure you have everything in place (a shovel and/or water).”
In Coldstream, campfires are only permitted for those who have three acres or more and apply for a burning permit.
“Campfires, essentially you can’t have them in Coldstream unless you’re cooking and when you’re done cooking you have to put it out,” said fire chief David Sturgeon.
There is a $200 fine (reduced to $150 if paid within 15 days) in Coldstream for those caught around a campfire and despite the provincial ban over the summer, Sturgeon estimates approximately a dozen individual fines were handed out.
“Plus under that fire ban we get RCMP to attend and they can issue a provincial ticket which is $1,050.”