Fire officials urge safety first for open burns
Officials blame poor planning after a handful of controlled burns got out of hand across the Kamloops Fire Centre over the past few weeks.
The Centre says more than 100 hectares of land could have been saved with 10 minutes of homework.
Authorities believe people doing early open burns have been underestimating just how dry the Southern Interior is. That false sense of security often means they don't make the necessary phone calls and don't take the safety precautions they need to.
Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says the Okanagan is drier than normal thanks to the amount of snow and rain that fell over the winter.
"Precipitation was lower than average this year ... another indicator that we look at is the snow pack level, which in general is a little above-normal for this time of year but within the Kamloops Fire Centre and especially within the Okanagan Valley, its only a little above-normal."
Provincial fire crews have already been called out to several out-of-control burns in the Okanagan this season.
"People conducting an open burn need to check the Venting Index first. If the Venting Index is rated Poor or Fair, open burning is actually restricted."
Skrepnek reminds you to check with your local fire department and the BC Wildfire Management Branch before you light up an open burn.
As always, to report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call *5555 on your cell phone or call 1-800-663-5555.