Campfire bans are not being lifted in Enderby, Armstrong, Spallumcheen, BX and Silver Star, despite Vernon lifting the ban Sept. 10. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Extreme wildfire risk sparks Okanagan campfire bans

Dry lightning, area wildfires, extreme heat a concern

Effective at 4 p.m. today (Friday, July 29) campfires will be prohibited within the City of Vernon. The fire ban will remain in place until the public is otherwise notified.

“Earlier today, the wildfire risk rating for Vernon was increased to extreme,” said fire chief David Lind. “The current conditions in the region are expected to continue for the next several days and we have been experiencing periods of dry lightning throughout the Okanagan Valley, including the North Okanagan.

“Implementing a campfire ban allows us to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires and protect public safety, particularly at a time when weather-related risk factors have increased.

“Thank you to those who are taking efforts to FireSmart the areas around your homes and are keeping fire safe behaviors top of mind.”

The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) has also initiated a campfire ban, which affects Westside and Lake Country.

The following activities are prohibited and apply to all public and private lands in Vernon and RDCO:

• Campfires

• Discarding burning substances near combustible material

• Open air burning

• Fireworks

• Sky lanterns

• Tiki torches and similar kinds of torches

• Burn barrels or burn cages

• Chimineas

Non-compliance with the fire ban may result in fines up to $1,000 through the city’s municipal bylaws. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

The above prohibitions do not apply to CSA-rated or ULC-rated cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimeters.

The City of Vernon would like to thank the public for helping to prevent wildfires. To report a fire within the city, call 911 immediately. To report a wildfire, call the BC Wildfire Service at 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

READ MORE: Wildfire service responding to new blazes in North Shuswap and North Okanagan

READ MORE: Vernon breaks 88-year-old heat record


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