Opinion

EDITORIAL: Please follow the rules

The recent heat wave has had most of us basking in the sun and enjoying the great outdoors.

But while we are soaking up summer, there is a responsibility that comes with living in an arid climate.

As of today, a campfire ban is in effect for all Crown land, including the backcountry and provincial parks, as well as in virtually all municipalities and electoral areas.

“We have been experiencing hot and dry conditions and an increased fire danger rating,” said Melissa Welsh, a fire information officer with the Kamloops Fire Centre.

“Areas of extreme (risk) are growing fast.”

The primary reason campfires are banned is because if they get out of control and threaten homes and lives, they direct limited resources away from fires no one can do anything about — those caused by lightning.

“We need to cut down on the human-caused fires,” said Welsh.

Obviously campfires are a summer tradition, whether you are sitting down along the lake or in your favourite provincial park. Who doesn’t love roasting marshamallows and tell stories as the flames crackle?

But another tradition the Okanagan is becoming known for is wildfire — whether it’s Fintry, Terrace Mountain, Kelowna, Cedar Hills or the current one near Sugar Lake. In some cases, it’s timber that is scorched while at other times, it has been residential homes.

Given that so many neighbourhoods are in the interface, including Canadian Lakeview Estates, Mabel Lake and Silver Star, it’s a question of when the next wildfire occurs, not if.

Authorities did not easily make the decision to ban campfires but they understand that certain measures are required to ensure that this Okanagan summer doesn’t become an emergency.

“It’s an issue of public safety and that’s our first priority,” said Welsh.

Please do your part and follow the rules.

 

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