A new order banning smoking and off-road vehicles is aimed at preventing wildfires in populated areas, like the one that started on Knox Mountain in Kelowna Sunday. Photo courtesy Douglas Farrow

Penticton issues fire bylaw order

Penticton is closing all natural areas inside city limits to smoking and off-road vehicles

The City of Penticton and surrounding communities are taking steps to reduce the possibility of a wildfire in populated areas.

Along with the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and the Penticton Indian Band, the city is issuing a fire bylaw order closing all natural areas within the city limits, West Bench and the Penticton Indian Band lands to off-road motorized vehicle use and smoking.

“The extreme fire hazard rating and ongoing threat of wildfires has created a public safety concern,” reads the order. “The Fire Chief declares the entire City of Penticton including West Bench of the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen closed for an indefinite period of time.”

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“Given the provincial state of emergency and the current extreme conditions in the community, we feel that it is necessary to take this next step in wildfire prevention,” says Larry Watkinson, Fire Chief for the City of Penticton.The fire bylaw order closes natural areas such as the wildland bush trails and along the Kettle Valley Rail trail to smoking as well as off-road use of motorized vehicles such as dirt bikes, quads and 4×4 trucks.

“We really appreciate the support of the community in adhering to the fire bylaw order and reducing the risk of fire in the region,” said Watkinson.

The full text of the fire bylaw order is available at www.penticton.ca.