Even though the West Kootenay is sizzling under the summer heat, it hasn’t been enough to prompt campfire bans in the Southeast Fire Centre.
While two-thirds of the province is under campfire restrictions, the local region hasn’t reached the point to issue a ban.
Jordan Turner, forest information officer in Castlegar, says while campfires are currently permitted, the situation is being monitored on a daily basis.
“If we pass a certain point of dryness here in the southeast, then we will put that ban in place,” he said, adding that weather stations are keeping a close eye on moisture levels. “Right now, we are monitoring it daily because of how hot it has been, and we are looking into [campfire bans] as an option.”
Along with weather conditions, Turner explains that the status of a fire bans depends on an unpredictable factor, people.
“We look at issues with campfires getting out of hand or actually starting wildfires but that is not an issue that we have had so far this year,” he said. “We have had human caused wildfires, but not specifically from campfires.”
In order to maintain the area’s green light for campfire burning, Turner says all campfires must stay within regulations and after the s’mores are made and campers leave a site, the fire must be completely extinguished.
“For a campfire, it has to under a half metre by a half metre in size,” he said.
“To be within regulations you have to have either eight litres of water or a hand tool, such as a shovel, nearby to properly extinguish the fire. A campfire can’t be left unattended for any period of time and you can’t leave the area until the ashes are cold to the touch, meaning the fire is fully extinguished.”
Turner encourages the public to call in any wildfires or unsafe burning to 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cell phone.
To see current status updates on fire bans, visit www.bcwildfire.ca.