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Human-caused grass fire near Penticton prompts call to stay out of backcountry

People using recreational vehicles off-road like ATVs and motorbikes were specifically called out
BC Wildfire Service crews soak down the aftermath of a human-caused fire in West Bench near Penticton on Aug. 19. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, local municipalities and local Indigenous bands have called for caution from people who want to go out into the back country.

The joint statement was issued on Sunday, after a human-caused fire erupted on Saturday in West Bench near to the area’s elementary school.

A quick response by BC Wildfire Service, Penticton Fire Department and the Penticton Indian Band Fire Department were able to bring the fire under control before it threatened any structures.

The Park Rill wildfire near Twin Lakes is also listed as a human-caused fire, and that fire is currently listed at over 1,090 hectares in size.

The joint statement reminds people that the region is currently facing extremely dry conditions that could easily lead to a new wildfire starting and pulling vital resources from other fires.

In particular, the warning calls out people who use dirt bikes, ATVs and other motorized vehicles recreationally in off-road areas, and calls on them to avoid adding to the already heavy burden on emergency personnel by participating in any activity that could spark a fire.

“And that’s all it takes: a small spark with favourable conditions can grow quickly,” reads the statement. “And we can’t stress enough, there is a ban on campfires throughout the entire region and there are no exceptions.

“We thank you in advance for doing your part to keep us all safe.”

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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