A member of the BC Wildfire Management Branch ground crew extinguishes some hot spots in an area just off Green Mountain Road near some residences last summer.

A member of the BC Wildfire Management Branch ground crew extinguishes some hot spots in an area just off Green Mountain Road near some residences last summer.

Campfire bans could pop up over weekend, Canada Day.

Fire bans may pop up over the weekend and Canada Day holiday.

People looking to spend their weekend or Canada Day holiday camping are urged to use caution with campfires.

Category two and Category three open fires are prohibited in many regions of the province including the Kamloops Fire Centre where Penticton is located.

Essentially any open burning including waste, slash, stubble or grass fires and the use of fireworks, sky lanterns or burning barrels of any size or description.

Warm and dry weather conditions are expected to continue as the heat wave picks up in Penticton, so open burning prohibitions or campfire bans could be implemented or expanded on short notice to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety.

Local governments could have their own burning restrictions in place, so always check with authorities in your area before lighting a fire of any size.

So far this season, the Wildfire Management Branch has responded to over 530 wildfires, over half of which were caused by people. Human-caused fires are preventable and tie up firefighting resources that could be used to deal with naturally occurring wildfires.

Given the forecasted weather conditions, it is crucial for British Columbians and visitors to remain vigilant and prevent wildfires. Any fires that break out should be reported to the Wildfire Management Branch as quickly as possible.

Information about current burning restrictions is available on the Wildfire Management Branch website at: www.bcwildfire.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/Bans.asp

Anyone operating motorized vehicles in the backcountry must also exercise caution, since the heat from an exhaust pipe — particularly in tall, dry grass — could ignite a wildfire.

Here’s some important information about campfire use, if campfires are allowed in your area:

  • Have a shovel or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish your campfire.
  • Campfires cannot be larger than 0.5 metres high by 0.5 metres wide.
  • Do not light a campfire or keep it burning in windy conditions. Weather can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material.
  • You must maintain a one-metre fireguard around the campfire. This is a fuel-free area where all flammable materials (grass, kindling, etc.) have been removed.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended.
  • Make sure that the campfire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time. You may be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs if your negligence results in a wildfire.

This is an ideal time of the year for homeowners and communities to take simple steps to reduce the potential impacts of wildfires. More information about fire prevention and the FireSmart program can be found online at: www.bcwildfire.ca/Prevention/firesmart.htm