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High winds and scorching temperatures have the BC Wildfire Service on alert.
 
Campfires are still allowed in the Kamloops Fire Centre, but information officer Brenna Ward says conditions are expected to get a lot drier through the weekend.
 
"It looks like we are in for a long period of hot, dry weather. We are forecasting in the 30's and very low humidity. Coupled with the high winds expected, it will certainly have an effect and increase the Fire Danger Rating, which sits at HIGH." 
 
There are currently no wildfires burning within the Merritt Fire Zone.
 
Since April 1st, Ward says 30 wildfires have been recorded, burning a total of 73 hectares.
 
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Local and First Nations governments have been given the power to ban marijuana production in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) within their communities if certain rules are not followed.

The new framework allows local and First Nations governments to make decisions regarding cannabis production that align with local planning and priorities in their communities.

They can ban industrial-style, cannabis-production bunkers on ALR land.

But they can't shut down marijuana that's grown in an open field, in a structure that has a soil base, or in a structure that was either fully or partially constructed prior to today.

Despite the new framework, the province says there is no biological difference between a cannabis plant grown for medical or for non-medical purposes.

 

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Province taking wait and see approach with invasive fish at Douglas Lake.
 
Eight Yellow Perch were caught in Douglas Lake during recent sampling by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
 
However, the level of threat to the lake is unknown, and Thompson-Okanagan region fisheries biologist Andrew Klassen says there is no current plans to begin treatments.
 
"It's ten-times bigger than anything we have ever treated. So, at this point we are not considering any treatment because of the size of the lake, and the number of species in it. And, also the use of the lake as a source of food for First Nations. So, it makes it tough to treat. And, at this time the level of the impact will likely not be known for years."
 
The invasive fish made there way to Douglas Lake, after a fish kill that took place in Windy Lake and Little Windy Lake west of Kelowna in 2016 failed to stop their spread down the Nicola River system.
 
Sampling will continue at Douglas Lake over the summer.
 
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Merritt Fire Rescue Department on pace for another record year of call outs.

Through six-months, Chief David Tomkinson says members have responded to 386 call for service.

At this point, he wouldn't be surprised if they eclipsed 800 call outs this year.

"We are training more. Of course, there are some BC Firefighting minimum training standards that we meet for the firefighting aspect of the job. But, we are also training for first responder medical calls, rope rescue calls, and auto extraction calls. So, our job, and job duties have increased over the years because that is what is required of us. Someone has to provide those types of services."

Since the Merritt Fire Rescue Department switched to the Elink software dispatch service at the end of 2015, call outs have increased substantially, setting new records in both 2016 and 2017.

 

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City of Merritt needing to establish privacy policy before adding security cameras at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.
 
Director of Corporate Services Sean Smith says the Office of the Privacy Commissioner has indicated it is necessary a policy be established before they will review any Privacy Impact Study from the city.
 
"It would set out the rules for how we deal with information that is collected by the security cameras. Who could access it, how the information would be used, who we would disclose it to, and the process of how it would be disclosed."
 
Recent rulings from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner concerning Terrace and Vancouver proves the OPIC doesn't believe security cameras are that effective in reducing crime.
 
Despite that, Mayor and Council voted to move ahead with a proposal in May that would see cameras installed at both the arena, and eventually the alley connecting the Rail Yard Mall with the Nicola Valley and District MuseumNicola Valley and District Museum
 
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