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Locals questioning why visitors to provincial park can have campfires but area residents must follow a burn ban

KAWARTHA LAKES-When Lianne Barley learned that campfires were still burning at Balsam Lake Provincial Park while the municipality was under a burn ban, she was perplexed.

“Our visiting neighbours, with no water hoses, can have fires but we can’t. How does this make any sense?” Barley says.

Other residents in tha area have also been questioning the policy.

The City of Kawartha Lakes implemented a total burn ban in the municipality on July 8th due to extremely dry conditions.

On Friday Balsam Lake Provincial Park in Kirkfield announced they had lifted the burn ban and said campfires were now allowed. Kawartha Lakes Fire and Rescue confirmed on Friday though that burn ban remained throughout the City of Kawartha Lakes. This lead to some confusion by local residents who could not have fires.

Officials with the park told Kawartha 411 News that because they are a provincial entity they have different guidelines.

“The park falls under a different jurisdiction than municipalities.” Leith Slykhuis, Assistant Park Superintendent at Balsam Lake told Kawartha 411 News.  “We police ourselves within the park and we have firepits that are regualted to control the spread of fire as well as our Park Wardens.”

He went on to say, “The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP)/Ontario Parks works closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s (MNRF) Aviation Forest Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES) and local municipalities. Ministry staff closely monitor MNRF Restricted Fire Zone (RFZ) declarations, current conditions, weather forecasts, etc. to determine if or when a full or partial fire restriction/ban will be implemented for an individual provincial park.”

Barley questions the logic. “I get that they are provincial but why not support your neighbours?”

“Ontario Parks implements fire restrictions when it is appropriate to do so based on Ministry analysis of current conditions and weather forecasts. Ministry staff are committed to maintaining an open line of communication with the municipality as it relates to fire restrictions.” Slykhuis explained.

Meanwhile Emily Provincial Park in the Omemee area kept their burn ban in place, in line with the municipality.

You can check the status of burning at your favorite campsite before heading out by clicking here:https://www.ontarioparks.com/en

The City of Kawartha Lakes lifted its Burn Ban today.

&nbspphoto credit: Nils van Rooijen By the campfire via photopin (license)

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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