Shuswap residents are fuming after a photo of a smouldering, unattended campfire in the Fly Hills was shared on social media.
Angela Hoover says she was in the Fly Hills Friday morning, May 31, when she found two abandoned campfires, smouldering and still very hot. Hoover said she poured what little water she had on them to put them out. She also took a photo and shared her frustration on Facebook.
“What are people not getting?” asked Hoover.
While campfires are still permitted in the Kamloops Fire Centre, BC Wildfire Regulation states they cannot be left unattended until they are completely extinguished and cool to the touch. And when a campfire is burning, there needs to be access to eight litres of water or a shovel the entire time it is lit.
Under the B.C. Wildfire Act, non-industrial open fires cannot be lit within one kilometre of forest land or grass land.
“I think it’s really important that we highlight to the public that this is illegal and that we do need to be very careful with our fires – particularly with the weather that we’ve been having, we don’t need wildfires,” commented Sgt. Jeff Hanratty with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service for the North Okanagan Zone.
Abandoning a campfire that hasn’t been properly extinguished is subject to a number of fines under the Wildfire Act, the highest being $1,150 for ‘light, fuel or use fire against regulations.’
Hanratty said his office is already working on a couple of files involving abandoned campfires.
“We’ll have some officers out this weekend – we will be doing patrols and that is one of the things which is within our mandate…”
Anyone who finds an abandoned campfire that hasn’t been properly extinguished is encouraged to call the RAPP line (Report All Poachers and Polluters) at 1-877-952-7277. Wildfires can be reported by calling *5555 or 1-800-663-5555.
“If it remains within a campfire, it’s more of an investigation of the offence and that comes to us,” said Hanratty.