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Last updated February 14, 2015

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The City of Vernon B.C. is proposing a ban on backyard campfires and only allow campfires in campgrounds.

You would be permitted to burn other types of fuels in your campfire like propane and briquettes, but you are not permitted to burn wood due to air quality concerns.

City of Vernon Fire Prevention Amendment Bylaw #5105
A bylaw to Amend Fire Prevention Bylaw Number #4476

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April 8, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 5.1 Okanagan Similkameen Airshed Coalition.pdf

.pdf icon Item 6.1 Bylaw Dispute Adjudication Program.pdf (for some reason RDCO has this under Bylaw Dispute Adjudication)

*This is only a portion of the agenda ... please click link for entire contents

4.6. Provincial Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation Intention Paper Feb. 24, 2010

Ralph Adams provided background information on the Provincial Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation Intention paper and informed the Committee that the process has started again with a stakeholder group in place. He noted that there might be a delay on the Intention Paper as the decision as to whether there should be high sensitive smoke areas seems to be an obstacle. He noted that there is agreement that the Intention Paper will have mechanisms for burning plans that could be developed in conjunction with the Ministry of Forests and Range, Local Governments and Fire departments, which would allow for interface and fuel reduction burning.

It was brought to the Coalition's attention that there was a legal opinion from Crown Counsel that the Ministry of Environment does not have the authority to enforce open burning on Federal Land however; the Canada Health Act may provide a mechanism to improve burning practices.

ACTION: Ralph Adams to obtain relevant Health Act information in regards to open burning practices.

It was noted that calls have been received inquiring if the Agriculture Chipping Program also covers Band Land.

RDOS have noticed more growers are participating in the alternative to burning programs.

ACTION: Staff to inquire if the First Nation Health officer in Kelowna would like to attend the OSAC meetings.


4.5. Anti-idling - Mayor Shepherd, Nicole Marzinzik

Staff provided information to guide the Coalition in a discussion on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from idling vehicles and provide recommendations to the participating Regional Districts.

• Educating and modeling should be the priority, target schools and corporations.
• Develop broad based campaigns (plans) working on behavioral changes using social marketing (resources may be available from Fraser Basin).
• Have sectors set up their own clear objectives on how to reduce emissions.
• Participating Regional Districts should lead by example regarding anti-idling awareness.
• Need to determine where the resources of the emissions are (traffic patterns, talking on cell phone, drive thrus) and who can look at this through their portfolios and promote the reduction of idling.
• Inquire if the Federal Government has funding and if they are providing anti-idling ambassadors again this year.

It was agreed that the Coalition should raise awareness and show leadership in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, before recommending an anti-idling Bylaw to their Regional Districts. The marketing could be done by one Regional District and then share the message throughout the valley. It was noted that it would be a challenge for the RDNO, as there is no
dedicated staff person for Air Quality.

Page 3 of 7


WHEREAS the UBCM Climate Action Charter, requires each Municipality to become carbon neutral by 2012 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33% by 2020 to meet the BC Climate targets,

THEREFORE the Okanagan Similkameen Airshed Coalition recommends to the three Regional District Boards that they receive the anti-idling discussion and the Cracking Down on Idling papers and request that they consider a social marketing program for anti-idling,

AND FURTHER THAT the Okanagan Similkameen Airshed Coalition request regional and municipal governments forward any anti-idling policies to the Okanagan Similkameen Airshed Coalition for their review.



4.9. Highway Expansion
Chair Patton noted that expansion to a four-lane highway north of Osoyoos is occurring and businesses along the highway are going to be negatively impacted. It was felt that this will become the corridor for Highway 97.

That the Okanagan Similkameen Airshed Coalition recommend to the Regional Boards that a letter be sent to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure asking that they support public transportation as an economical and environmental alternative to Highway expansion.


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Vernon Morning Star Oct 12, 2007 says campfires may be getting doused now!

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Regional District of Central Okanagan
Regional Fire Technical Advisory Committee Meeting
July 26, 2007
This is only a snippet.  Please click minutes if you wish to read the whole thing.

click meeting minutes to read the rest of the minutes.
The Fire Technical Advisory Committee does not feel it necessary to amend the Bylaw to include the banning of chimineas.


Campfire ban public notice City of Vernon B.C.
click article for larger print
City of Vernon B.C. public notice to amend bylaw to ban backyard campfires.

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Fire Ban Draws Anger
Fire Ban Draws Anger article from the Vernon Morning Star
click article for larger print
article from the
Vernon Morning Star Friday November 16, 2007 page A7

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Get a life
July 11, 2008 - Vernon Morning Star Online

I completely concur with Mr. Rosher. We moved to Coldstream, to obtain a rural lifestyle. Part of that, enables us to have a totally contained fire around which we sit with friends and family.

And we do roast marshmallows, hot dogs, and cook dinner on that fire. You bet we do. It is contained within a metal washing machine tub, surrounded by certified fire brick.

We have hoses within 20 feet of the fire at all times. And, when burning restrictions come into play, we comply 100 per cent by not burning.

So now what do we face? Restrictions like we lived within city limits. Come on, we live in Lavington, but pay our taxes to Coldstream.

And now you are telling me that I face a fine?

I am quite sure that this has come about, due to some medaling nosy residents, who have nothing better to do than "tattle tale" on otherwise law-abiding citizens.

To them, my words are, "get a life."

In my yard, I pay the taxes, and am the goddess of my own domain. When we choose to have a well maintained and controlled fire, we should not have to be concerned about by-law officers having to waist our tax dollars on a otherwise petty issue.

So, to the Coldstream office, please find something useful to spend our tax dollars on. And to the nosy neighbors, please, find something useful to do with your life and time.

Laree Goddu

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Middleground needed on fires

Vernon council’s actions Monday may bring a raging debate over backyard campfires under control.

Despite a staff recommendation to amend a bylaw so campfires are illegal except for in private and provincial campgrounds, the politicians delayed the matter so the issue can be reconsidered further.

There is no question that residential campfires pose a fire risk and help contribute to poor air quality, so the fire department was right to consider ways of dealing with those issues.

However, it was increasingly obvious that a blanket ban was not only unrealistic but unpopular with many residents.

Many people living on large acreages, especially along Okanagan Lake, have enjoyed backyard campfires for decades. And given the size of their lots and the rural nature of the Landing, such an activity should continue as long as property owners follow all safety precautions.

But the real concern appears to be in the more urbanized parts of the community, such as East Hill and South Vernon. Lots are smaller and homes are much closer together, especially where multi-family units exist.

If a fire were to spread under those circumstances, the impact could be devastating.

And in terms of air quality, smoke is more likely to hang over neighbourhoods right in town, whereas wind off Okanagan Lake largely deals with the situation in the Landing.

Ultimately, residents of all parts of Vernon — whether urban or rural — can’t ignore the fact that fire can pose a safety risk, while negatively impacting people with asthma.

But the rural/urban divide may be a good compromise so the tradition can continue in some cases.

Source Vernon Morning Star November 28, 2007

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Campfire ban sent back to drawing board
By Richard Rolke

A proposed ban on campfires in Vernon could be watered down.

Council instructed staff Monday to take a second look at a bylaw amendment that would have prohibited campfires in residential backyards.

“I don’t see why we have to tell some grandfather he can’t light a campfire with his kids,” said Coun. Jack Gilroy, who led the charge against the content of the bylaw.

“Our campfires don’t create the problems our fire chief says they are.”

However, the rest of council supported staff trying to address fire safety and air quality issues.

“Our chief is trying to go in the right direction,” said Coun. Barry Beardsell.

Beardsell believes there may be a need to just look at restrictions so fire safety in more urbanized areas is addressed.

“I would like to think that some form of compromise can be reached.”

At a recent public hearing, a number of people — especially in more rural Okanagan Landing — protested the possibility of a campfire ban.

Many of them pointed to smoke from developers clearing land as being more of an air quality issue.

That view wasn’t lost on Coun. Juliette Cunningham.

“It’s pretty hard to sell (a campfire ban) when you see huge bonfires from the development community,” she said.

Gilroy added that if there is a concern about air quality, the focus should be on woodstoves and vehicles idling.

He added that while he was a deputy fire chief, he was never aware of campfires creating a significant fire risk.

“We should leave some things in place instead of running people’s lives.”

The thrust of the staff review will be to determine if there should be separate campfire rules for urban neighbourhoods and rural properties.

Source Vernon Morning Star - November 28, 2007

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Let us know what you think regarding the debate on banning campfires.

If you have comments good or bad, solutions, concerns or complaints regarding the ban on campfires please make a comment to the community by filling out the form below, and/or comment to the Regional District of Central Okanagan, and/or the North Westside Road Firehall.

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If the comment form below does not work,

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Campfire Ban Comment Form

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