Pictured is Lake Koocanusa. (File Photo)

Pictured is Lake Koocanusa. (File Photo)

Illegal bonfire put out at Koocanusa area on Canada Day

“To have a fire of any size is not only illegal, but reckless and selfish”: Baynes Lake Fire Chief

Members of the Baynes Lake Fire Department are disappointed after having to tell a group of young people to put out a bonfire last Thursday night, amid a province-wide campfire ban and 196 wildfires burning in B.C.

The fire department was sent to a beach in the Koocanusa area on Canada Day, after a call came in about a large group of young people having a bonfire.

“To have a fire on any size is not only illegal, but reckless and selfish,” said Elk Valley and South Country Fire and Rescue Chief Dave Boreen. “What makes this call even more unacceptable is that when they were told that the fire had to be put out, several of them became belligerent and uncooperative.”

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He adds that there were a few people who stepped up immediately and put the fire out.

Firefighters had to access the site on foot, as the fire was located in an area that wasn’t accessible by firetrucks, the Regional District of East Kootenay explained in a press release.

“Had this bonfire gotten away on that group, it not only put our firefighters at risk, but posed a significant potential threat to the wider area. There is absolutely no excuse to be having a fire of any kind right now,” said Boreen.

The RDEK says that the Baynes Lake Fire Department will be working with RCMP and BC Conservation Officers to request law enforcement agencies are also dispatched to illegal campfire calls.

Boreen says the role of the fire department is to make sure that fires don’t threaten communities.

“Each of us needs to do our part to ensure we’re eliminating the risk of preventable fires. Following the provincial fire restrictions is critical,” Boreen said.

All open burning, use of fireworks and campfires are prohibited across the entire province. To report an illegal fire, call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.


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