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Fire risk high, be extra cautious in Okanagan-Similkameen: District

Category 1 campfire ban in effect across the region until Oct. 13
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is reminding residents to enjoy the long weekend with Firesmart tips in mind. (File photo)

With the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen categorizing the fire risk as “serious” heading into the long weekend, officials are reminding residents to take caution when spending time at home and in the backcountry.

“Summertime in the Okanagan and Similkameen is all about enjoying the outdoors, but with the dry conditions and heat, we want to remind everyone to be cautious when camping or exploring the backcountry,” said Mark Pendergraft, the RDOS’ board chair. “Category 1 campfires are currently prohibited throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety.”

The RDOS’ FireSmart team said in a reminder on Friday, Aug. 4, that forest fuels are drying up and the fire danger rating through the region is high.

The Category 1 campfire ban will remain in effect until Oct. 13, 2023, or until the orders are rescinded, according to the RDOS.

In its reminder, the FireSmart team listed several tips for people visiting the backcountry:

• During a campfire ban, smoking is restricted in all public areas. Discard cigarette butts appropriately and safely

• The use of outdoor stoves is not prohibited. Per the Wildfire Regulation, an outdoor stove is a CSA-rated or ULC-rated device used outdoors for cooking, heat, or ambiance that burns charcoal briquettes, liquid fuel, or gaseous fuel, and has a flame height that is less than 15 centimetres tall

• If you’re riding an ATV or other motorized vehicle, hiking, or camping in the backcountry, leave nothing behind

• If you see a sign of fire, report it immediately

When at home, the RDOS is reminding people to be safe when using a barbeque and to keep it away from overhanging branches.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire, or open burning violation, people are urged to call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a mobile phone.

READ MORE: Penticton joining regional campfire ban

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