Kelowna issues public reminder about controlled burns, smoke

An open burn pile along Spion Kop in the Central Okanagan. District of Lake Country

When Okanagan residents see smoke, calling 911 is an automatic habit.

For the next few weeks, though, Central Okanagan officials are asking area citizens to hold off on making that call if they see smoke rising from local hills.

Currently, the province is allowing open burning while wildfire risks are low, and some locals are taking advantage of the current conditions.

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Alberta wildfire shows off winter fires still burning, warns 2024 could be worse than last year

“If you see smoke in the hills of Kelowna, it’s likely from open burning that is allowed during this time of year,” the City of Kelowna said on social media. “Please do not call 911 unless you see flames or signs of an uncontrolled fire.”

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Generally, open burning season runs from Oct. 1 to April 30, though those dates can change. Also, it can be denied on a day-to-day basis pending an area’s venting index.

More information about opening burning can be found on the RDCO’s website and the province’s website.

Last month, the District of Lake Country announced that controlled burns would be taking place on the east side of Spion Kop, above The Lakes neighbourhood.

In all, the district said 107 hectares would undergo wildfire mitigation this winter and next winter as well.

Click to play video: 'Fuel mitigation work underway at Kalamoir Regional Park'
Fuel mitigation work underway at Kalamoir Regional Park

“This is a prescribed fire and Do Not Report signage is located on the highway near the project,” said the district. “Please do not call 911 or the Lake Country Fire Department about these prescribed burns.”

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The district said fire guards will be created around burn piles, with burning beginning in the morning and the fires fed until noon.

“After (12 p.m.), they are left to burn down and only the wood debris on the edges is raked into the middle of the pile to prevent any spread or escapes,” said the district. “All piles are checked at the end of the day. If at any time in the day, the venting changes and smoke stops rising, the igniting and feeding of piles is stopped.”

The district is also asking the public to stay out of marked work areas.

Click to play video: 'Wildfire Season Outlook'
Wildfire Season Outlook

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