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Bonfire fuels $1,150 fine for B.C. man

Group caught having a large bush fire in Okanagan
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A large bonfire sparked a large fine for a Vernon man early Sunday morning.

Coldstream Fire Department responded to a report of a large fire on the King Edward Forest Service Road July 23 around 3 a.m.

Police assistance was requested and an $1,150 fine was issued under the Wildfire Act to one of the individuals for failing to comply with a fire restriction.

The group of people were approximately five kilometres up the road.

“Restrictions on open fires are in place for a reason and need to be taken seriously,” said Const. Chris Terleski, media relations officer for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. “With wildfires burning across the province, it’s disappointing and frustrating to have to deal with careless behaviour like this. Not only does it put lives and property in danger, but it’s disrespectful to our firefighters who are right now, putting themselves at risk every day, battling these fires and doing their best to keep our communities safe. The last thing they need is to have to divert essential resources to fight another fire because someone wanted to have a bonfire. There’s absolutely no excuse for it.”

With the fire index sitting at extreme, police are urging residents to exercise caution and be fire smart.

“It can happen in a blink of an eye and only takes one spark to ignite a wildfire,” adds Terleski. “Be conscious of your activities and do everything you can to prevent starting a fire. Adhere to the burning restrictions, dispose of cigarettes properly, and never leave any type of flame or fire unattended.”

Penalties for contravening the Wildfire Act range from $575 for dropping, releasing or mishandling a burning substance, failing to extinguish a burning substance and failure to extinguish a fire to $1,150 for lighting, fueling or using fire against regulations, against restriction and failure to comply with a fire restriction.

READ MORE: Air support actioning 1 of 5 new wildfires sparked in North Okanagan

READ MORE: ‘Biggest shocker’ is how quickly wildfire approached: B.C. resort manager


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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