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Caution urged ahead of long weekend in the Okanagan

Enjoy the outdoors safely and responsibly

As we head into the May long weekend, residents and visitors are reminded to remain vigilant and enjoy the outdoors safely and responsibly.

Specifically, being proactive in preventing wildfires and keeping each other safe, with the following tips.

Be mindful when disposing of cigarettes and while using spark-producing tools like welders, mowers, chainsaws, and power tools.

People working in forested or grassland areas should have fire suppression gear, conduct fire watches, and follow shutdown rules.

Additionally, ensure off-road vehicles have spark arrestors to minimize wildfire risk.

If you choose to use an outdoor cooking appliance or have a small bylaw compliant campfire, exercise care and caution. Avoid leaving them unattended and ensure fires are fully extinguished before leaving the site. In addition, only burn dry, seasoned wood and keep water or a hand tool nearby at all times when the campfire is lit.

Residents are reminded that consumer fireworks and sky lanterns are not permitted within City of Vernon boundaries. Multiple fines may be issued for a single infraction.

“Through a combination of education, community engagement, and practical programs, we all can play a role in decreasing the risk of wildland fires occurring in the community,“ said Vernon Fire Rescue deputy chief Mike Walroth. “It’s critical that everyone is aware of their surroundings, careful about the activities they’re doing outside, and if they see smoke or fire, to report it immediately.”

To report a fire in city limits, call 911.

If you think you see a new wildfire start, report the fire by calling the BC Wildfire Service at *5555 on a cellphone, (1-800-663-5555 toll-free from a landline) or by downloading the BC Wildfire Service public mobile app and submitting the report by following the instructions.

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