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Kelowna Fire Department reminding public to follow upcoming campfire ban

Click to play video: 'Residents urged to be fire smart amid hot, dry conditions'
Residents urged to be fire smart amid hot, dry conditions
With nothing but hot, dry conditions in the forecast throughout the Okanagan, the Kelowna Fire Department is reminding residents to be aware of potential wildfire hazards. A campfire ban is about to come into effect for the region, and as Jayden Wasney reports, residents and visitors are being urged to take it seriously – Jul 6, 2023

With hot, dry conditions now baking the Okanagan, the Kelowna Fire Department is reminding the public to be vigilant and take the campfire ban set to come into effect in the region at noon on Friday, seriously.

“I’m very concerned — all our fire crews are very concerned about the potential fire conditions,” said Kelowna Fire Department fire prevention officer Paul Johnson.

“We’re already starting off this fire season as one of the worst seasons ever and we’re only in the first week of July.”

Click to play video: 'BC Wildfire Service warns of summer fire danger'
BC Wildfire Service warns of summer fire danger

The Kelowna Fire Department is reminding the public about potential wildfire hazards and just how quickly disaster can strike.

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“Obviously, campfires are the big one. That’s one of the main ignition points, and, with tourists coming to town, we have a lot of parks,” said Johnson.”

“With more people using the parks, we have more opportunities for ignition. People smoking, people partying in the bush, we’ve seen fireworks, we’ve seen gender reveal parties.

“I get it — it’s the outdoors, it’s summertime and everybody is happy to be outside. But the reality is the more users we have, the more opportunities we have for a fire.”

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1 million hectares burned so far in 2023, 3rd highest in BC Wildfire Service history

The campfire ban, which covers Similkameen, Boundary and Okanagan regions, comes at a time when much of the area hasn’t had any large amounts of precipitation in well over a month.

“June is upper-level, low-pressure season. What that means is we need to see steady rains in that month and we didn’t see any,” explains Global meteorologist, Peter Quinlan.

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“We only saw a fraction of the normal amount of moisture — 5.1 millimetres at the Kelowna airport when normally we should see 45.9 millimetres.”

Last weekend, hot, dry conditions and strong wind gusts helped fuel a wildfire that broke out in Knox Mountain Park. According to Peter Quinlan, those same conditions are expected to persist.

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‘Very high’ risk of wildfires continuing in Canada this summer: Blair

“Daytime highs in the low-to-mid-thirties, and we’re coming off of the second driest June ever recorded in the Central Okanagan,” said Quinlan.

“In the South Okanagan, it was the driest June on record. So this is unprecedented and this is really raising that fire danger rating, and the potential for some dry lighting could spark up fires in an instant.”

Johnson says there are several ways residents can be fire smart and lower their risk of being impacted by a potential wildfire.

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“Go on to FireSmartBC and look at what you can do for your home,” said Johnson.

“There are tips and tools such as cleaning out your gutters, cleaning out underneath your deck, removing combustibles from around your building, ensure that hedges are not touching your house.”

Wood-fueled fire pits and outdoor wood-burning appliances are also not permitted within Kelowna city limits.

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El Nino not a major cause of recent wildfires, heat waves: meteorologist

 

 

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