Campers and hikers not getting message of forest fire safety

Large numbers of people given warnings over the past weekend

A forest fire in the Shuswap near Chase

A forest fire in the Shuswap near Chase

Despite earlier media reports, there were not 78 tickets issued for unattended or abandoned campfires in the southeast fire centre last weekend. Still, the situation was far from ideal and officials are concerned that many campers and hikers are not getting the message or understanding the rules that should be followed with respect to campfire safety.

Last weekend, there was a significant spike in instances of unattended or abandoned campfires but most resulted in verbal warnings according to Jordan Turner, fire information officer with the Wildfire Management Branch. Earlier information about 78 tickets issued was incorrect.

“That would have been a record-breaking number [of tickets],” said Turner. “We had a quite a few fire wardens out this weekend [in the Southeast sector] and we did have the most unattended campfires found in the province.

“There were a lot of issues throughout the fire centre either with unattended or abandoned campfires. There are simple rules in place and they are very rarely followed.”

Turner said those rules include having 8 litres of water and a hand tool like a shovel on site, keeping it constantly attended and keeping it within a half metre by half metre.

With increasing hot weather, the fire danger rating for much of the province is increasing and campers and hikers are urged to be vigilant with fires.

If smoke or fire is spotted in B.C. forests, call *5555 from your cell phone to report the location.