Because of the high fire hazard in the area, the paved road in Giant’s Head Mountain Park has been closed to vehicle traffic.
The road closure took effect on Tuesday, in an effort to limit the risk of person-caused fires in the park.
“If we can limit the number of cars going up there, it will reduce a significant number of people going up the hill,” said fire chief Glenn Noble.
He added that the decision to close the park to vehicle traffic was not made lightly.
“From a tourism aspect, it’s not a good thing,” he said, “but we’ve seen some very aggressive fire behaviour.”
Mayor Peter Waterman said the dry conditions led to the decision to close the road to vehicular traffic.
“We have moved to this closure to vehicular traffic in these extreme conditions as Giant’s Head Park is particularly vulnerable due to high use by residents and tourists alike,” he said.
“In addition to this closure to vehicles, I would like to urge cigarette users to be extremely careful. It is common sense that this applies to all areas where there is a fire hazard.”
At the time of the ban, the fire hazard in the region was rated as high, but Noble said extreme fire hazard conditions were expected within a day or two after the ban.
Last year a similar ban was implemented in the park, beginning on July 18.
The park was also closed to vehicle traffic in 2003, during one of the most devastating fire seasons in the region.
The 2003 fire season saw the last significant fire events in the South Okanagan, although the West Kelowna area has had serious fires since that time.
In August, 1996, a fire in the park destroyed more than 60 hectares of grassland and trees on the east side of the mountain.
Around 20 nearby houses were evacuated.
The fire danger rating was at extreme during the 1996 fire.