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Debate rages as B.C. firefighters caught ignoring fire ban

Digital writers

Thursday, July 13, 2017, 9:56 AM - Fire officials in British Columbia moved quickly to douse controversy after several firefighters were photographed around a campfire Wednesday, a clear violation of the province-wide fire ban currently in place.

The photos in question show five firefighters around a campfire on the shores of Adams Lake, an area situated about 100 km northwest of Kamloops. 

The images were posted on a Facebook public group for the residents of Clearwater by user Rusty Clark Tuesday evening. One of them can be seen in the video above.

"Some photos came to our attention last night of what appears to be some of our crews in the Adams Lake area having a campfire," Mike McCulley, fire information officer for B.C. Wildfire Services told The Weather Network's Krissy Vann.

"Of course there is a campfire ban there. We are taking that very seriously. There is an investigation ongoing to find out what happened there."

As of Thursday morning, there are 125 wildfires across the province that measure larger than 0.01 hectares, according to B.C. Wildfire Service's website.

Campfires have been banned in the entire province, with the exception of Haida Gwaii and the so-called 'fog zone' along the west coast of Vancouver Island. Seventy provincial parks are currently closed through the interior.

"Campfire bans do apply to everyone, regardless of whether it's our staff or not," said McCulley. "We just want people to emphasize that it's still in place for the entire province."

While some showers are expected Thursday for northern B.C., the south remains dry for the foreseeable future.

"Valley gusts in the 20-40 km/h range for the southern Interior today, which certainly won't help the wildfire situation either," says The Weather Network meteorologist Brett Soderholm.

Some users on Facebook have criticized Clark for posting the photos, stating that to sustain their efforts firefighters have to use fire to cook. Clark took the time to respond to some of these users Thursday morning.

"First of all I would like to thank every fire fighter [sic] on every level trying to save our beautiful province! Hats off," Clark posted to the group. "Secondly, the incident is being dealt with hopefully with some new changes."

Clark goes on to express that he has been scolded online for his stance on the matter.

"In my opinion if level one fire fighters and this goes for (every fire fighter), are allowed to have a fire for cooking purposes only, then these rules need to be changed, rules are rules," he said. "These people work for our government and should be setting an example for others!"

Those who are found breaking the ban can be fined a maximum of $1,150, and could pay even more if the campfire results in a wildfire.

WATCH BELOW: 5 must-see videos from B.C. wildfires, no. 4 shows real terror

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