UPDATED JUNE 27 – Lightning sparks numerous wildfires in southeast British Columbia

Several wildfires started after lightning hit the southeast BC area Monday afternoon. – Southeast Fire Centre urges caution with open burning as hot temperatures continue.

Wildfire map above shows the current wildfire situation in southeast BC – BC Wildfire

CASTLEGAR BC CANADA – BC Wildfire Service personnel are currently responding to numerous lightning-caused fires throughout the Arrow Fire Zone and the Kootenay Lake Fire Zone. None of these fires is currently threatening any structures or communities.

* Three separate lightning fires started on June 26 in the Arrow Fire Zone and each of them covers less than one hectare. BC Wildfire Service personnel are at the site of a fire burning about 12 kilometres southwest of Nakusp, near Saddle Bay. Another fire is about seven kilometres northeast of Nakusp near Mount Jordan, and fire suppression efforts there are being supported by a helicopter. The third fire is about three kilometres northeast of New Denver, and BC Wildfire Service personnel there are being supported by an air tanker.

Photo: Lightning strikes hitting BC at 4:28PM Monday June 26, 2017

* Five BC Wildfire Service personnel are currently heading to a wildfire near Blueberry Creek, about seven kilometres southwest of Castlegar. The fire was estimated to cover less than one hectare as of the afternoon of June 27.

* Three separate lightning fires started June 26 in the Kootenay Lake Fire Zone, and each of them covers less than one hectare. One is near Trout Lake, another is about four kilometres northwest of Queens Bay and the third is about two kilometres northwest of Blake. Each fire has BC Wildfire Service personnel on site and the fire northwest of Blake also has a helicopter working on it.

* A 30-hectare wildfire was discovered near Bull River (about 24 kilometres northwest of Fernie) on June 25. Twenty BC Wildfire Service personnel are currently working on this fire with the aid of three pieces of heavy equipment. As of the afternoon of June 27, this fire was “being held”, which means that significant fire suppression has occurred and the fire is not likely to spread further under current conditions. There were no lightning strikes in the area when this fire started and the cause is currently under investigation.

The BC Wildfire Service is reminding the public that unattended or abandoned campfires can easily start a fire. This type of human-caused wildfire is completely preventable and diverts crucial resources away from naturally occurring wildfires.

From April 1 to June 27, 2017, the Southeast Fire Centre has responded to 26 wildfires that have burned 39 hectares. Thirteen of these fires were caused by lightning, while the remaining 26 were human-caused. Last year on this day, a total of 37 fires had burned 312 hectares.

The fire danger rating in most of the Southeast Fire Centre is currently “moderate” or “high”, with some areas of “extreme” fire danger in the Cranbrook Fire Zone.

The Southeast Fire Centre extends from the U.S. border in the south to the Mica Dam in the north and from the Okanagan Highlands and Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east. The Southeast Fire Centre includes the Selkirk Natural Resource District and the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call *5555 on a cellphone or 1 800 663-5555 toll-free. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca

You can also follow the latest wildfire news:

* on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo

* on Facebook: http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo

To Report A Wildfire – Call Toll-Free 1-800-663-5555
*5555 on most cellular networks.

Southeast Fire Centre urges caution with open burning

CASTLEGAR (June 26) – The BC Wildfire Service is reminding the public that a Category 3 fire prohibition is in place throughout the Southeast Fire Centre’s jurisdiction. As weather conditions get drier and hotter, people are urged to use extreme caution while conducting any outdoor burning activities.

Almost all wildfires in the region at this time of year are caused by people. Human-caused wildfires are completely preventable and can divert crucial firefighting resources away from naturally occurring wildfires.

As temperatures rise, fine fuels on the forest floor (such as tree needles and wood debris) become highly flammable. Since April 1, 2017, 18 wildfires have burned 38 hectares in the Southeast Fire Centre. Six of those fires were sparked by lightning while the remaining 12 were human-caused. By the same time last year, 37 wildfires had burned 312 hectares.

A map of the area affected by the current Category 3 prohibition is available online at: http://ow.ly/Q7S430ct2C0

A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available at: http://www.gov.bc.ca/openfireregs

Anyone wishing to light an allowable open fire must watch for changing weather, follow all burning regulations and take the following precautions:

* Ensure that enough people, water and tools are on hand to control the fire and prevent it from escaping.

* Do not burn during windy conditions. Weather conditions can change quickly and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires.

* Create a fireguard around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material.

* Never leave a fire unattended.

* Make sure that your fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before you leave the area for any length of time.

Before conducting a burn, check with your local fire department and local government to find out if any other open burning restrictions or bylaws are in effect.

It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that they are burning in a safe and responsible manner and in accordance with current restrictions. Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: http://www.bcwildfire.ca

You can also follow the latest wildfire news on:

* Twitter at http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo

* Facebook at http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: http://www.gov.bc.ca/connect

WEATHER FORECAST: Chance of thunderstorm today – Monday June 26, Winds could gust to 70 km/h