The City of Vernon is urging caution while camping after an abandoned campfire required action from firefighters.
Vernon Fire Rescue Services (VFRS) responded to a report of a potential wildfire above the Turtle Mountain area Wednesday, Sept. 2 at approximately 8:20 p.m. BC Wildfire Service also dispatched crew members, but were called off when the fire was found to be within VFRS jurisdiction.
After firefighters were initially unable to locate the fire, residents in the area guided them to an undeveloped piece of private property. Crews then hiked to find a blaze approximately 15 feet in length and width, according to City of Vernon Communications Manager Christy Poirier.
“Firefighters used water backpacks and forestry hand tools to extinguish the fire quickly. It appears someone had started a campfire and left without fully extinguishing it first,” said Poirier. No structures were involved in the fire.
The fire danger rating in Vernon is currently listed as high and with hot and sunny weather forecasted over the long weekend, the city urges residents to be extra cautious.
“We anticipate people will want to enjoy some time around a campfire over the next few days, but we remind everyone to remain vigilant and ensure they are using safe campfire practices to help prevent human-caused wildfires,” Poirier said.
“We know many people will probably choose to spend time around a campfire this weekend with family or friends who are in their small social bubble,” said VFRS Deputy Chief Scott Hemstad. “We encourage people to enjoy this last bit of the summer season, but to do it with safety top of mind.”
Category 2 and 3 burning is not permitted at this time, but campfires are allowed within city limits under the Good Neighbour Bylaw. Those choosing to have a small campfire are reminded to keep the following fire safety measures in mind:
- Only burn dry, seasoned wood
- Never leave a fire unattended
- Never light a campfire or keep it burning in windy conditions
- Be mindful of smoke’s impact on neighbours; don’t allow dense smoke or noxious odours
- Keep water or a hand tool nearby at all times when the campfire is lit
- Ensure the fire is fully doused before walking away at the end of your time outside
- Ensure ashes are cool to the touch before retiring for the night or leaving the area for any length of time
To report a wildfire, call the BC Wildfire Service at 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. To report a local fire, call 911.