A Summerland firefighter works to control a recent wildfire. Because of the hot and dry weather

Campers careless around fires

After a wet spring and early summer, campers in the south Okanagan are becoming lax when it comes to fire safety.

After a wet spring and early summer, campers in the south Okanagan are becoming lax when it comes to fire safety.

Kevin Skrepnek, a fire information officer with the Kamloops Fire Centre, said last weekend there sere five abandoned campfires in the south Okanagan.

He said the earlier wet weather is likely a contributing factor.

“Unfortunately, it’s really gotten people quite complacent,” he said. “We’ve been consistently seeing a lot of abandoned campfires.”

Throughout the province, there have been 183 wildfires this year, 119 of them caused by people.

The earlier rainfall resulted in more vegetation growing. Later, as the weather became hotter and drier, the vegetation has dried out, leaving more fuel to burn.

The soil is also extremely dry, not only on the top layer, but also in the duff layer, 10 to 20 centimetres deep.

“We definitely need to be a lot more vigilant,” Skrepnek said.

Campfires are still permitted in the region, but in other parts of the province, fire bans are in place.

The Merritt and Lillooet fire zones already have fire bans in place. The Merritt fire zone extends to Headly and the Pennask Summit on the Coquihalla Connector.

Skrepnek said ay fire larger than a campfire is prohibited. If a fire ban was to take effect, he said the ban would be announced early in the week and would take effect on the weekend.

 

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