FIRES – Warning tickets to be issued for illegal camp fires at Cooney Bay beach

Cooney Bay on April 2, 2021 after a camp fire got out of control. (Image: City of Kamloops)

Kamloops Fire Rescue, Community Services, and RCMP will issue warning tickets over the next few days to people found with illegal fires at Cooney Bay and other public beaches in an effort to educate residents on fire safety and zero tolerance for open fires.

“The risks of having an open flame, on a beach or any property, is very high in our region and climate,” said Ryan Cail, KFR’s Assistant Chief of Operations.

“As the temperature rises, so does the fire danger rating, and the brush around a beach area can be very flammable.”

On a sunny weekend, thousands of visitors visit Cooney Bay and the mouth of the Tranquille River, located west of the Kamloops Airport, and beach fires have become a regular occurrence. In any given year, KFR and the BC Wildfire Service attend to a number of unattended fires at Cooney Bay.

The informal recreational site is bordered by Tranquille Farms, and visitors to the site access the area by crossing their private property — a courtesy that has been extended by the property owners. As increased fire activity raises concerns for the historic property, the property owners have the right to revoke the privilege to safeguard their assets.

“Our goal is to educate residents who are not aware of the risks and of the bylaw infraction when having a fire on the beach,” said Cail.

“We are responsible for protecting our residents, and we need to ensure our resources are available for emergency events. Brush fires that we attend at Cooney Bay and other areas are typically 100 per cent preventable.”

As of June 1, random patrols will be conducted throughout the year at Cooney Bay and other public beaches. Individuals in violation of the bylaw will receive a minimum $500 fine for the infraction.

Report a wildfire at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on mobile.

About Mel Rothenburger (9116 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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