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Concern grows as fires burn

Two wildfires south of Penticton have burned up more than 160 hectares of timber.

And, that is cause for concern at the Kamloops Fire Centre

"Since Friday April 11, the Kamloops Fire Centre has responded to 10 new wildfires, all of which have been human-caused," says fire information officer, Kayla Pepper.

"Of the 32 fires that have occurred in the Centre since April 1, almost all were the result of poorly planned open burning. This serves as a serious reminder to the public to be vigilant with any open fires and to ensure that they have contingency plans in place to extinguish fires that may escape."

The largest of the fires continues to burn within the Penticton Fire Zone.

The Inkaneep wildfire, northeast of Osoyoos, is now estimated at 80 hectares in size.

Pepper says an investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of this wildfire, which was discovered on the afternoon of Friday, April 11.

"Today 23 firefighters and a helicopter will be on site working to establish more fuel-free areas around the fire’s perimeter."

She says the fire will continue to generate smoke in the Osoyoos and Oliver area.

This fire is separate and unrelated to the prescribed burning that was undertaken in the area by a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band.

The second fire at the junction of Barcelo Road and Highway 3, southeast of Keremeos and Cawston, is estimated at 84 hectares in size.

"Crews with support from a helicopter first responded yesterday. Wildfire Management Branch personnel remain on site today working with the Keremeos Fire Department to protect values in the area," says Pepper.

"More than half of the wildfires across British Columbia this season have been located in the Kamloops Fire Centre, and all have been human-caused."

Pepper says before conducting a burn, check with your local fire department, municipality and regional district to see if any open burning restrictions or bylaws are in effect.

If you are planning to do any large-scale industrial burning or if you are going to conduct a grass burn over 0.2 hectares (Category 3 fires), you must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time by calling 1-888-797-1717.

Always check the venting conditions before conducting an open burn. Click here for the latest venting index.

In British Columbia, the Wildfire Act specifies a person's legal obligations when using fire in or within one kilometre of forest land or grassland. If an outdoor burn escapes and causes a wildfire, the person responsible may be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs.

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