As of noon Wednesday July 29, 2020, Category 2 and Category 3 open fires will be prohibited throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes Merritt and the surrounding area.

According to a release by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources and Rural Development, as well as the BC Wildfire Service, “This prohibition is being enacted to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety.”

Campfires one half metre high by one half metre wide, or smaller, will still be permitted. The ban does not apply to cooking stoves that use briquettes, propane or gas.

Specifically, prohibited activities will include:

  • Category 2 open fires;
  • Category 3 open fires;
  • the use of fireworks;
  • the use of sky lanterns;
  • the use of binary exploding targets and
  • the use of burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description except when used for a campfire as defined by the wildfire regulation.

“Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.”

Recently two wildfires have sparked in the Merritt area. The Matthew Creek fire 10km southeast of Brookmere is being held and the Skuhun Creek fire west of Merritt on Hwy. 8 is listed as under control.