Column: Don’t wait on fire bans

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

It seemed like just another hot, sunny Kamloops day in the summer of 2003 when we noticed dark smoke over the ridge behind our upper Sahali residence.

My wife and I walked up to where others stood along the ridge and, like them, were awed by what we saw. From somewhere behind Strawberry Hill and Mount Paul, rose a enormous plume of dark smoke.

The hills were on fire.

That night, I took my camera up to Kenna Cartrwight park to take photos of the blaze, which had spread to parts of the mountain facing the city. What became known as the Strawberry Hill fire reached 5,731 Hectares before it was contained. It was believed to have been caused by discarded cigarette butts.

That was a bad summer for human-caused fires in the Kamloops region. The worst of them, the McLure-Barriere blaze, covered 26,265 hectares. Seventy-five homes were destroyed, as was the Tolko mill in Barriere. This fire was the result of a discarded cigarette butt. The person responsible for “dropping a burning substance” was fined $3,000.

On Thursday, May 30, Sicamous and Malakwa firefighters were joined by BC Wildfire Services firefighters in an effort to extinguish a forest fire in Two Mile. Prior to the fire, Sicamous RCMP received a report of a flare gun being used near where the fire occurred.

Read more: UPDATE: Two Mile fire contained, suspected to be human caused

Read more: Sicamous RCMP say emergency flares used prior to Two Mile fire

Read more: Residents fuming over abandoned campfires in Fly Hills

The following morning, two hot, smouldering campfires were found left unattended in the Fly Hills.

Not surprisingly, another hot, dry summer is in the forecast for B.C. The Coastal, Prince George and Cariboo fire centres have already initiated bans on open fires. The Northwest Fire Centre has banned open fires and campfires. Meanwhile, both remain permitted in the Kamloops Fire Centre, including the Shuswap.

While there may be a number of cooler days ahead this week, the Kamloops Fire Centre’s Fire Danger Rating for Salmon Arm, as of Monday, June 3 was Extreme. That alone seems reason to initiate a ban on open fires and campfires in our region sooner than later.

No, fire bans likely won’t stop the self-absorbed idiocy witnessed last week, but at least they can be enforced and further stress the need to be fire smart.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Salmon Arm man won’t be jailed for possessing child pornography

Conditional sentence from Supreme Court includes house arrest curfew for six months

Field trip inspires Salmon Arm student to recreate art exhibit in Minecraft

Grade 5 student makes a model of The Little Lake exhibit at the Salmon Arm Art Gallery

Salmon Arm orchard working with Interior Health after apple juice recall

Health inspection report raises concerns with hygiene, sanitation, improper attire

Salmon Arm women bring soccer to girls in Kenyan village

Cultural disconnections melt away with learning and laughter

Vandals on ATV damage outdoor skating rink in Silver Creek

Damage delays preparations for ice surface in community park

Fashion Fridays: Holiday outfits on a budget

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Bolshoi Ballet’s Le Corsair back for encore showing at Salmar

Alexei Ratmansky production plays at Classic on Sunday, Nov. 24

RDOS approves cannabis location for Okanagan Falls

Concerns about impact of business raised by some in South Okanagan community

Smudging in B.C. classroom did not affect Christian family’s faith, says school district lawyer

Lawyers make closing arguments in a Port Alberni case about the Indigenous cultural practice

Shuswap’s Rust Bros. team keeping it real with season 2 of Rust Valley Restorers

Q&A with Mike Hall and Avery Shoaf of Tappen-based reality TV show

Canadian Forces member charged with possessing magic mushrooms in Comox

Master Cpl. Joshua Alexander, with the 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron, facing two drug related charges

City of Revelstoke company owes millions

With the proposed propane subsidy, mayor said RCEC won’t be able to compete

Most B.C. residents, including those hit by 2018 storms, not prepared for outages: report

Create an emergency kit, BC Hydro says, and report all outages or downed lines

Most Read