UPDATE: Two initial attack crews from the B.C. Wildfire Service remain at the scene of a large grassfire in the Baynes Lake area.
They have been joined by an additional officer, with seven personnel in total attending the blaze, which is being held but is not yet under control.
A B.C. Wildfire Service spokeswoman said 22.4ha of grassland had been burned so far.
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A fire that started on a private property has razed nearly 23 hectares of grassland in the Baynes Lake area overnight.
Yesterday, 17 firefighters from the Baynes Lake, Jaffray and Elko fire departments worked to contain the fast-moving grass fire, which broke out just before 3 p.m. near Kerr Rd.
They were joined by a B.C. Wildfire Service initial attack crew about 7 p.m. and remained on fire watch overnight.
Elk Valley and South Country Rural Fire and Rescue Service Deputy Chief Michael Hockley said the blaze originated on a private property.
“It quickly burned onto crown land and through the dry grasses and driftwood along the shores of Lake Koocanusa,” he said.
“Fortunately, the winds took the flames away from any residences and our crews were able to keep the fire from spreading into the heavy timber in the area, however, this is a really important reminder for everyone that although things are wet and the snow is just melting, the fine fuels are still dry and fire can spread quickly.”
Hockley praised his crews’ efforts to contain the blaze, despite the windy conditions.
“We are also grateful for the assistance of the B.C. Wildfire initial attack crew,” he said.
Local firefighters turned the scene over to the wildfire service this morning.
As of 9am, the fire had burned 25ha of grassland.
The Regional District of East Kootenay said the blaze emphasized the importance of ensuring proper safety measures were in place and that conditions were appropriate before doing any outdoor burning.
“Residents are reminded to ensure they have researched any burning regulations that are in place through the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development prior to doing any burning,” read a press release issued late Sunday night.
There are currently no open fire prohibitions in effect for the southeast fire centre, however, anyone wishing to light a Category 3 open fire must obtain a burn registration number from the province ahead of time by calling 1-888-797-1717 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.