The City of Penticton is imposing a full ban on open fires in the area, including campfires and fireworks, due to a high fire danger rating in the South Okanagan.
The temporary ban came into effect at noon on Friday, and is in conjunction with a Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen fire ban effective for Oliver, Osoyoos, Smmerland, Keremeos and the Penticton Indian Band.
“The open burning ban is in effect to protect public safety and to limit the risk of person-caused wildfires,” a release from the city reads.
The ban is effective for any open fires, including the fire pits in the city’s beaches. Officials note that the pits along Skaha and Okanagan beaches have been covered up and closed to the public.
The ban doesn’t bar fires in cooking stoves using gas, propane or briquettes or to portable campfire apparatus with CSA or ULC ratings, provided the flame height doesn’t top 15 centimetres.
Campers and hikers are asked to be cautious in remote areas.
The city also notes that those driving in areas of high grass should be wary of potential fires sparked by the heat of their exhaust systems.
“Avoid operating any motorized vehicle in tall grass and vegetation when the weather is hot and dry,” the city notification says.
The PIB reinforces the point, advising those enjoying the back country with motorized vehicles, particularly all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes, to avoid those tinder-dry areas.
“Even operating a lawn mower in dry grass conditions can ignite a fire,” says their notification. “Any guests to the reserve are required to obtain an access permit through our PIB Lands Department; all others will be considered trespassers and will be removed.”
Those found not complying with the fire ban can be subject to a ticket, and those found causing a wildfire through arson or recklessness can be fined up to $1 million, with a maximum of three years of prison.