Members of the Hosmer Fire Department responded to a quickly spreading grass fire in the Hosmer area this afternoon.

“In spite of the Provincial ban on open burning, a property owner was burning yard waste on his property,” explains Elk Valley & South Country Rural Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Michael Hockley. “When we arrived on scene, the fire had spread into the grass and onto two adjacent properties. We were very lucky the situation wasn’t more serious and our firefighters did a good job of extinguishing the fire.” No structures were impacted by the fire.

A total of six firefighters and RCMP responded to the call. All open burning is currently prohibited and the fire was larger than the allowable 0.5m x 0.5m for a campfire. As a result, the resident was ticketed for a Wildfire Act violation and fined $1150.

A province wide ban on category 2 and 3 open fires, use of fireworks and burn barrels, and resource management fires went into effect on April 16th and applies to all public and private lands in the rural parts of the RDEK. Campfires are currently permitted under the provincial restriction, but they must be no larger than 0.5 metres by 0.5 metres. Some municipalities have additional bylaws prohibiting backyard fires, so municipal residents are urged to check with their municipal office to see if there are any additional bylaws in effect.

“Every time we get sent to a call it puts our members and first responders at risk. There is no excuse for burning right now and we need East Kootenay residents to help us by respecting the open fire restrictions,” stresses Hockley.

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