Some open fires to be allowed within Columbia Fire Zone

CASTLEGAR – Effective at noon Pacific time on Sept. 30, 2017, Category 2 fires will once again be permitted within the Columbia Fire Zone in the Southeast Fire Centre due to a decreased risk of wildfire in that region.

A map of the affected area is available online at: http://ow.ly/3yBj30fvlO7

However, the Category 2 open burning prohibition will remain in effect for the Boundary, Arrow, Kootenay Lake, Invermere and Cranbrook fire zones, since those areas have not received as much rainfall.

Larger Category 3 open fires remain prohibited throughout the Southeast Fire Centre. A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online at: http://ow.ly/jdO5301kS32

The BC Wildfire Service is urging the public to use caution and remain vigilant with any fire use. In British Columbia, the Wildfire Act specifies a person’s legal obligations when using open fire on or within one kilometre of forested land or grasslands.

People should take the following precautions with any outdoor burning activities:

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

* Do not burn in windy conditions. The weather can change quickly and 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.

Local governments may still have their own burning restrictions in place, so people should always check with local authorities before lighting any fire of any size.

Anyone planning to conduct an open burn (where allowed) should always check the local venting conditions first. If conditions are rated “poor” or “fair,” open burning is restricted. The venting index can be found online at: http://ow.ly/8ytY30fwvyC

The Southeast Fire Centre encompasses the area extending from the United States border in the south to Mica Dam in the north, and from the Okanagan Highlands or 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 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, go to: 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

You may hear that effective 1pm tomorrow, the Southeast Fire Centre has announced changes to Category 2 Open Fire restrictions for some portions of the Southeast Fire Centre, It is important to note that these changes DO NOT apply to the East Kootenay (neither the Invermere nor the Cranbrook Zone). Category 2 and 3 fires, which are fires larger than 0.5 metres by 0.5 metres, will remain prohibited in the East Kootenay at this time. This includes, the use of fireworks (including firecrackers), burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description, sky lanterns, binary exploding targets, and air curtain burners. A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online at: http://ow.ly/znny309kJv5

Here is the latest from the BC Wildfire Service on the fire front, with the most notable change being the lifting of some of the Forest Service Road Closures on the Lamb and Quinn Creek fires:

  • Lamb Creek – Still considered 80% contained and being held. The Lamb Creek road closure has been lifted. The Etna Creek Forest Service Road closure remains in effect (see map here: http://ow.ly/LuJt30ffypF). There are 15 firefighters working towards full containment of the fire and mopping up. Fire behaviour remains low but the fire is still actively burning within the perimeter.
  • Soowa Mountainremains estimated at 5,800 ha. The fire is burning in a remote area and is being closely monitored.
  • Kenow MountainEstimated 15,448 ha – classified as being held on the BC side. This fire is being monitored on the BC side. On the Alberta side, the fire remains estimated at 38,100 hectares and is classified as being held.  The fire is not expected to grow beyond its current perimeter and resources continue to monitor and extinguish hot spots.  Parks Canada reports that smoke may still be visible from this fire for several weeks until the winter.  Additional areas within Waterton Lake National Park re-opened yesterday and some businesses in the Village of Waterton have reopened.  Click here for a full Parks Canada update on the areas that have been reopened (and those that remain closed).
  • Lodgepole FSR – This fire is being monitored.
  • White River90% contained and remains at an estimated 26,400 ha.  There are 7 firefighters and one helicopter working on rehabilitation efforts.   Forest Service Road Closures: White River Forest Service Road, starting at the 32.5 kilometre mark, White-East Fork Forest Service Road, starting at the 60-kilometre mark, White-Schoefield Forest Service Road, starting at the 78-kilometre mark and Lodgepole Creek R05956 SEC 1 Forest Service Road, starting at the 54.3-kilometre mark
  • Quinn Creek – estimated 11,764ha and is classified as under control. This fire is now being monitored.  The Forest Service Road closures for Quinn Creek Forest Service Road at Alpine Creek, Bull River Forest Service Road between Narboe Creek and the 94.5 kilometres mark have been rescinded.
  • Linklater Creek – The fire on the Canadian side is under control.  The BC Wildfire Service is now working on rehab planning for this area.  This fire is being monitored.

With things winding down and most of the outstanding questions related to Forest Service Road closures and burning restrictions, the RDEK Emergency Information phone line is now closed. It will be re-activated anytime there is a large scale emergency.  Inquiries about the fires, road closures, and burning restrictions should be directed to the SE Fire Centre at 250-365-4040. Their website is www.bcwildfire.ca.