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Backyard fires prompt a number of calls to 9-1-1

Columbia Valley Rural Fire and Rescue Service is asking residents to obey fire ban rules after having received a number of calls regarding backyard fires.

Drew Sinclair, Deputy Chief of the Columbia Valley Rural Fire and Rescue Service said the volunteer fire department has been called out to at least one backyard fire every night early in July.

“When the fire bans are put in place, especially when we get down to the campfire bans as well and even with the permitted propane backyard fires, any fire within the community creates fear and anxiety,” said Sinclair. “What may be avoided with neighbourly conversation over the fence usually turns into late-night activation of 9-1-1.”

Sinclair said the extra calls are putting a strain on firefighting resources that have already been stretched thin.

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“Most of these calls come late at night and are creating a drain on our volunteers as well as creating a burden on our Fire Dispatch Centre in Kelowna already dealing with an unprecedented season. Sadly, many of these calls could be avoided with neighbourly communication prior to the dispatch of Fire Departments and RCMP.”

All outdoor fires including campfires and fireworks are banned across BC as the province is in the midst of wildfire season.

Those not obeying restrictions can be fined $1,150 plus a fine of up to $100,000 and the cost of all firefighting operations if the fire escapes.

Sinclair said about six violation tickets have been issued locally by local RCMP and the Conservation Officer Service.

“Please abide by the rules. No active backyard fires at this time, and please be considerate that the permitted propane fires may cause fear and anxiety with neighbours,” explained Sinclair.

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