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Thompson Nicola Regional District board, mayors push BC Wildfire Service for campfire ban

TNRD requests full and immediate campfire ban from Kamloops Fire Centre
The TNRD is requesting a full campfire ban as of May 18 2023 from the Kamloops Fire Centre be initiated heading into the May long weekend. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media - File)

The districts of Clearwater, Barriere and Simpcw First Nation support the call from the Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) on May 18 asking the Kamloops Fire Centre to place a full fire ban on all campfires in the regional district.

The motion to ban campfires was passed by the TNRD board at its meeting on Thursday, May 18, and was brought forward by Barierre Mayor Ward Stamer.

In a Tweet late Friday afternoon, Mayor Merlin Blackwell of Clearwater shared: “TNRD board calls for an immediate campfire ban in the TNRD portion of the Kamloops Fire Centre.”

In response to that post, Ron Lampreau, Simpcw Councillor and band fire chief stated the support of Simpcw First Nation for this full campfire ban in the valley.

Earlier that day in an interview with Black Press, Stamer expressed his serious concern about current conditions so early this year.

“It may be that we will see a cooler trend in weather coming, but right now this is high risk and I’m really concerned, especially during this long weekend with higher volume on Highway 5 that is already a North Thompson Valley safety priority.”

Last week the district of Barriere placed it’s own local fire ban in place and Stamer feels strongly that this should be taken very seriously for the whole TNRD. The Kamloops Fire Centre also placed a Category 1 and 2 fire ban beginning May 18.

“This is the 20 year anniversary of the devastating fires in the TNRD and the memory of those terrible fires along with the destruction left behind should be a reminder of how fast a fire can destroy.”

With the possibility of thunder and lightening storms in the region along with hot weather leading to even drier conditions, the conversations within the TNRD by officials, residents and first responders often turn to the memories of 2003 and subsequent wildfires throughout the Interior of B.C. in previous years.

The TNRD does not issue campfire bans, that is the role of the BC Wildfire Service. Board chair and Ashcroft Mayor Barbara Roden and Blackwell both pointed to concern they had when no campfire ban was issued ahead of the 2021 Canada Day long weekend, which saw a heat dome descend upon the province, leading to record high temperatures, including 47.3 C in Kamloops on June 29.

Black Press has not received a statement from the Kamloops Fire Centre at this time.

- With a file from Kamloops This Week

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About the Author: Hettie Buck

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