Fireworks could net big fine

UPDATE: 1 p.m.

Coldstream Fire Chief Dave Sturgeon says his department was not called about a series of fireworks blasts reported last night.

However, Sturgeon reminds residents that not only are fireworks illegal in the district, setting them off is an unnecessary fire risk.

"We're basically on the border of extreme fire danger right now," he said. "With the fire last week at the lookout, people obviously are not getting the message."

That fire was caused by fireworks, and Sturgeon says anyone caught setting them off without a permit could face a $1,050 fine.

Given the current fire danger, he urges anyone who sees people setting off fireworks to call the fire department immediately.

Meanwhile, the department has sent members to back up the Oliver Fire Department in the South Okanagan as the Eagle Bluff wildfire rages on near Gallagher Lake.

ORIGINAL: 11 a.m.

Less than a week after fireworks were blamed for a grass fire at the Kal Lake Lookout, some Coldstream residents report hearing more fireworks blasts last night.

Wayne Emde tells Castanet he was awoken about 11:45 p.m. by "a series of very loud fireworks on the east side of Kalamalka Lake." 

"Not only did they likely wake everyone in Coldstream, but in light of the fire caused by fireworks at the lookout last week, it was not only irresponsible, but also illegal."

Const. Kelly Brett of the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMp says no reports came in to police.

Castanet has reached out to the Coldstream Fire Department for comment.

On Aug. 3, fireworks are believed to have started a series of small grass fires below the lookout.

Both Vernon and Coldstream firefighters, along with police, responded to the scene on Kalamalka Lakeview Drive about 2:20 a.m. after reports of loud bangs in the area.

Arriving crews found grassfires burning in the area below the lookout, not far from several homes. 

"There is evidence of small-calibre fireworks being set off in the vicinity," said Vernon Fire Chief David Lind.

“I want to remind those responsible that you place others at risk with this type of behaviour. A person may face significant fines, penalties and even jail time should their actions be found to have contributed to a loss of life or property. Someone found to have caused a fire such as this can be held responsible for the full cost of extinguishing the fire.” 

The District of Coldstream's fire protection bylaw states that residents may not "fire or discharge fireworks ... unless authorized by a permit issued by the fire chief, and then only strictly in accordance with the permit."

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