With temperatures rising and conditions getting gradually drier, the BC Wildfire Service and Ministry of Forests have announced two open burning bans for the Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes the Nicola Valley.

According to a joint release, effective at 12:00 pm on Thursday (May 18) Category 2 and Category 3 open fires, as well as other equipment and activities will be prohibited throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre. Officials say the prohibition is being enacted to help prevent human-caused wildfires, and protect public safety. The bans will remain in place until the same time on Oct. 13, 2023, or until the order is rescinded. Anyone currently conducting Category 2 or Category 3 open fires within the Kamloops Fire Centre must extinguish those fires by the noon, May 18, deadline.

“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,” notes the release. “If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.”

In addition to the open burning bans, the ministry is also banning fireworks, sky lanterns, binary exploding targets, burn barrels, and air curtain burners. Campfires, which are classified as Category 1, are still allowed under the new bans.

For more information on the sizes and types of fires that are now banned, visit the BCWS website.