As warmer weather beams down upon us, people are sweeping out the cobwebs and stocking the shelves of their travel trailers for the camping season ahead.
Fond memories will be made as families sit around the campfire at night, playing music, sharing stories and roasting marshmallows.
But before everyone beds down for the night, it’s essential not to forget the most important part of having a campfire (beyond remembering the matches) and that’s to put it out.
No one thinks it’s going to happen to them — a blaze that looked mostly out or was lightly doused with water ends up smouldering, catching forest fuels along the ground nearby and spreading into a full-out forest fire.
Sometimes such fires burn far more than forest, spreading to homes and outbuildings, destroying people’s life possessions and claiming the lives of animals.
Already this spring, there have been several grass fires around Kamloops. A 10-hectare blaze in Knutsford this month required a dozen firefighters, two bush trucks and two fire engines to keep the flames from making their way to nearby homes, and another in McLure also edged near houses.
Since April 1, Kamloops Fire Centre crews report having responded to wildfires covering more than 100 hectares.
While not necessarily started by leftover campfires, the incidents are representative of how dry the ground is and how quickly a fire can get away. We had little snow in the valley bottoms over the winter and one fire chief has already described the ground as “tinder dry.”
We encourage readers to take the extra time to make sure your campfire is out — check it before going to bed and again before driving away.
In addition to facing a penalty of up to $10,000 for causing a fire, imagine how terrible you would feel if your fire destroyed someone’s home due to your lack of care.
As Smokey the Bear, a mascot of the U.S. Forest Service has told generations, “Only you can prevent wildfires.”
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.