Fire safety as fire hazard rises across Central Okanagan

Friday, June 14, 2019 - 10:07am

It didn’t take long for the hot, dry weather to see the fire danger rating in the Central Okanagan rise. The fire hazard is now high and moving toward extreme. Earlier this week the Kamloops Fire Centre introduced bans on all category 2 and 3 fires on Crown and private lands outside a fire department jurisdiction with its own fire safety bylaw.

Given these conditions, local fire departments throughout the Central Okanagan share the following reminders for residents and visitors specific to this area:

Smoking in public spaces & disposal of smoking materials

Residents in the Central Okanagan are reminded that smoking is not allowed at anytime in Regional and municipal parks or beaches including play areas, sports fields and natural areas.

All smoking materials should be carefully extinguished and motorists are reminded not to toss cigarettes or other smoking materials from their vehicle. 

Open Burning

In the Central Okanagan, open burning has not been allowed since the season closed on April 30. Violators could receive a fine and be charged the cost of the fire department response to a burning complaint. Residents are encouraged to report anyone who is illegally burning by calling the Regional Fire Dispatch Centre at 250-469-8801.

Alternatives to open burning includes the free agricultural chipping program for orchard wood waste and the new Mow/Chip/Rent-It Rebate program offered through the Regional Air Quality Program.

Campfires

At the present time, campfires are only allowed with certain size restrictions in West Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland and the Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West Electoral Areas that are serviced by a fire department. Campfires are never allowed at any time of year in the City of Kelowna.

Those having a campfire must be very careful, ensure it doesn’t escape and have appropriate tools on hand to fully extinguish it. Depending on conditions, local fire chiefs may place additional campfire restrictions in the interest of keeping communities safe from fire danger.

Fireworks and firecrackers sale and use

Local bylaws prohibit the sale and use of fireworks and firecrackers throughout most areas of the Central Okanagan, unless a permit is approved in writing by the Fire Chief. Each community’s fire bylaw can be reviewed for the specific requirements needed to obtain a fireworks permit.

To find fire safety information or to check on specific fire restrictions in your community, visit your municipal or Regional District website.

To report a wildfire call the BC Wildfire Centre at 1-800-663-5555 or dial *5555 on a cell.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) is ready in the event of an activation. Visit cordemergency.ca for preparedness information, links to fire safety resources and to sign-up to receive email notifications.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan Emergency Program is coordinated by the Kelowna Fire Department on behalf of the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, the cities of Kelowna and West Kelowna, districts of Lake Country and Peachland, and Westbank First Nation.