New rules for campfires – Fire Rescue adds details to bylaw

In the name of prevention, anyone wanting to have a campfire in Sun Peaks now has a more detailed set of rules to follow.

Changes have been made to bylaw #7 that outline when and how many campfires can be started.

“We wanted to enable us to control how many (campfires) are being lit in the valley,” said Colin Cannon, Sun Peaks Fire Rescue (SPFR) Chief. “The goal is to give public concrete directions on how and when burning is allowed.”

Now those who wish to burn must first receive a free permit from SPFR who will ensure there are no more than five campfires burning at one time.

This will allow SPFR to learn how many people are actually having fires and make them aware of fires as they are burned. It will also give them a chance to deny the permit if wildfire danger is rated at high or extreme or if poor venting in the valley will make smoke hang in the air.

Also, fires are now only allowed to be burned in noncombustible containers, not on the ground.

Cannon said even fires that are extinguished can smolder on the ground and get into root systems to cause large fires.

Fires will not be allowed to be lit within five metres of a structure and must be extinguished by 10 p.m.

“We don’t want to be a downer but for the good and safety of everybody here at Sun Peaks we don’t want fires lit when nobody is around to watch them,” Cannon said.

Propane pits were also added to the bylaw for the first time. They do not require a permit to operate but Cannon said they have to be approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

Cannon said the goal isn’t to ban campfires or fine people but to enforce with education and more defined standards to refer to.