An Okanagan man received a hefty fine this past weekend for failing to comply with the region’s fire bans.
Vernon RCMP say they received a call for assistance from the Coldstream Fire Department after a large fire was reported early Sunday on King Edward Forest Service Road.
After arriving at the scene, roughly five kilometres up the road at 3 a.m., police discovered a group of people around a large bonfire.
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Fire crews extinguished the bonfire, with police fining a man $1,150 for failing to comply with a fire restriction under the Wildfire Act.
The Kamloops Fire Centre is under a campfire ban, issued on July 7.
“Restrictions on open fires are in place for a reason and need to be taken seriously. With wildfires burning across the province, it’s disappointing and frustrating to have to deal with careless behaviour like this,” said Const. Chris Terleski.
“Not only does it put lives and property in danger, but It’s disrespectful to our firefighters who are right now, putting themselves at risk every day, battling these fires and doing their best to keep our communities safe.
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“The last thing they need is to have to divert essential resources to fight another fire because someone wanted to have a bonfire. There’s absolutely no excuse for it.”
RCMP say penalties for contravening the Wildfire Act can include:
- dropping, releasing or mishandling a burning substance: $575
- failing to extinguish a burning substance: $575
- lighting, fueling or using a fire against regulations: $1,150
- failing to extinguish a fire: $575
- lighting, fueling or using a fire against restriction: $1,150
- failing to comply with fire restriction: $1,150
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The B.C. Wildfire Act is available online.
Further, with the region’s fire danger rating at moderate to high, police are urging residents to be fire smart.
“It can happen in a blink of an eye and only takes one spark to ignite a wildfire,” said Terleski.
“Be conscious of your activities and do everything you can to prevent starting a fire. Adhere to the burning restrictions, dispose of cigarettes properly, and never leave any type of flame or fire unattended.”
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