The Regional District of Central Okanagan is responsible for fire protection and suppression services provided through four paid-on-call departments in areas of the two unincorporated electoral areas.
Each of the departments provides services specifically within its fire protection area. These services are funded by property owners living within the fire department jurisdiction. RDCO Fire Protection Areas Map
Fire Services Review
On January 14th, the Regional Board gave support in principle to the independent third-party review of fire services and asked staff to report back with implications and possible action for each of the 22 recommendations.
The Board sees the recommendations as positive steps forward for the four paid-on-call fire services and their dedicated volunteers who serve as firefighters within the Ellison, Joe Rich, North Westside and Wilson’s Landing communities. Most of the recommendations support continued coordination and administrative support by the Regional District to standardize bylaws, operating guidelines and policies providing increased consistency across the departments. The Board believes the report recommendations will create opportunities for financial efficiencies through the effective coordination and management of training, purchasing and operations of the four departments.
Some property owners in previously unprotected areas have agreed to form a special service area and contribute annual funds for fire protection service.
- Property owners living in the June Springs area and south end of Lakeshore Road, outside the Kelowna boundary, receive fire service from the City of Kelowna Fire Department through an agreement between the Regional District and City of Kelowna.
- Property owners in the Brent Road area just outside Peachland receive fire protection from Peachland Fire Rescue through an agreement between the Regional District and District of Peachland.
Outdoor Open Burning
The outdoor burning season is regulated in the Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West Electoral Areas in part by the Regional Fire Prevention and Regulations Bylaw No. 1066 and the Smoke Control Bylaw No. 773. Member municipal governments have similar regulations, which empower local fire chiefs to determine the open burning season.
- Depending on the fire hazard, season normally runs October 1st to April 30th throughout the Central Okanagan.
- Only eligible property owners with a permit from their local fire authority will be allowed to burn after also ensuring compliance with the BC Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation and after phoning the Open Burning Hotline 1-855-262-2876 which will tell them whether venting and air quality permit burning that day. On a day that burning is allowed, it's recommended burning begin later in the morning, as venting conditions are usually better after 10:00am.
Before ignitng any burn pile, residents with a valid permit from their local fire department are responsible to ensure their compliance with the BC Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation. They are required to check the air quality conditions on the day that they want to burn. Conditions are updated daily at 8:00 am by calling 1-855-262-BURN (2876).
- Wildfire/Interface fires -
- Community Wildfire Protection Plan - the Regional District of Central Okanagan has developed a Regional Community Wildfire Protection Plan for the consideration of future decisions regarding wildfire protection.
- Slow Down - Move Over
Did you know it's the law that you have to slow down and move over (if safe to do so) when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped with its flashing lights on? View this video from the Superintendant of Motor Vehicles
- Local burning restrictions and fire prevention - please contact your local fire department, for unincorporated areas not within a Fire Protection Service Area please contact the Ministry of Forests at 1-877-797-1717.
Community Wildfire Protection Plan
In April 2010 the Regional Board received a final draft of the Regional Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). The Plan, prepared by Blackwell and Associates, outlines potential risks of interface fire throughout the region and recommends mitigation methods and costs of treating areas to improve community safety. While most of the land requiring action adjacent to interface communities is Crown land, many undeveloped private parcels would also require mitigation. The report also recommends education efforts for private landowners encouraging them to reduce potential fire risks on their properties. The report and supporting information has been provided to local municipal members for consideration with the Regional District Sustainability Steering Committee to provide political input regarding the process.