Firefighters with the Baynes Lake Fire Department responded to a large bonfire on the beach in the Koocanusa area on Thursday night.
Crew members were dispatched on a complaint of a campfire in the area to find a large group of young people along with the fire.
“To have a fire of any size is not only illegal, but reckless and selfish,” said Dave Boreen, Elk Valley and South Country Fire & Rescue Service Chief. “What makes this call even more unacceptable is that when they were told that the fire had to be put out, several of them became belligerent and uncooperative.”
The fire was in an area of the beach that was inaccessible by fire trucks, so crew members had to access the site on foot.
“Had this bonfire gotten away on that group, it not only put our firefighters at risk, but posed a significant potential threat to the wider area. There is absolutely no excuse to be having a fire of any kind right now,” said Boreen.
According to officials with the Regional District of East Kootenay, the fire department will work with the RCMP and BC Conservation Officer Service to ensure proper law enforcement measures are taken with illegal campfire calls.
“Our role is to ensure these fires don’t threaten our communities. Each of us needs to do our part to ensure we are eliminating the risk of preventable fires. Following the Provincial fire restrictions is critical,” explained Boreen.
All open burning, fireworks and campfires are banned in B.C. to help reduce human-caused wildfires.
Illegal fires may be reported to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.