Capital News editor Kevin Parnell.

Parnell: Give a firefighter a break, already

Kelowna - The rush to judge some ill-thinking firefighters, has our managing editor asking questions

There’s two sides to every story, and I wonder what story the firefighters who were fined last week for having a campfire during this summer’s campfire ban might tell.

That is if they were ever brave enough to talk about the incident that saw them scorched on social media for what was considered the most heinous of crimes.

If you did manage to miss it, a picture was circulated on social media earlier this year of five BC Wildfire Service firefighters standing around a campfire at an unnamed lake in the Shuswap.

They were mere feet from a lake and the ground surrounding the fire was all dirt.

The province was under attack from forest fires and a provincial campfire ban was in effect.

The judgement that rained down on those involved was quick and harsh as is the norm in today’s era of social media, anonymous commenting and holier-than-thou attitudes.

But there are always two sides to every story.

Why did they decide to have a campfire at night, on a barren patch of dirt right beside a lake, with virtually no chance of the fire escaping their control?

Had they been working for 15 hours straight for weeks on end, with no days off and none coming anytime soon?

Did they need some warmth to re-energize in their fight to save our forests?

Were they hungry and needed coals to heat up food, so they could go back into the woods at first light and begin yet another thankless day of digging trenches, slugging up hillsides, saving homes?

Was someone injured? Were they soaking wet?

What really were the circumstances of that camp-fire and what was the harm? Surely five firefighters warming themselves at a campfire on a dirt patch next to a lake, stood virtually no chance of it escaping.

The uproar that followed the picture of fire-fighters highlights the way we are nowadays. Picture to social media; people rush to judge from their ivory computer tower.

This is not to condone any campfire during a ban. But if there ever was a case where a campfire made sense, this could have been it.

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