Campfires are a common site in the Kelly Main Forest Service Road, off of Yankee Flats Road. (photo submitted)

Backcountry ban demanded

The backcountry remains open and that has some Falkland area residents fuming.

The Ministry of Forests has denied a request from people living on Yankee Flats Road to shut down all Crown land in the region to prevent wildfires.

”It’s all about public access and not safety,” said resident Pat Peebles.

Currently, there is a ban on off-road vehicles on Crown land, but Peebles says many people are driving up the Kelly Main Forest Service Road, parking their vehicles and then walking into the woods to target practice or pursue other activities.

Residents have been urging motorists to turn around.

“We’re taking down licence plate numbers. If a fire starts, we know who was there,” said Peebles.

Peebles is frustrated with the government, saying more could be done to minimize the potential risk.

“Unless you have a fire, they don’t shut you (backcountry) down. They’re not proactive. They’re reactive.”

Peebles points out that the Kelly Main road is eight kilometres from Falkland, 18 kilometres from Armstrong and 20 kilometres from Salmon Arm.

“A fire would take out all of the cities,” she said.