Crews in the Southeast Fire Centre have been kept very busy over the August long weekend, as the hot, dry conditions persist. Storms did sweep through the area over Saturday and Sunday, bringing rain to some areas but also accompanied by lightning.
With enough to worry about with lightning caused fires, the Southeast Fire Centre will try to put a stop to human-caused fires by imposing a campfire ban. As of 1 p.m., today, Tuesday, August 5, 2014, campfires are prohibited throughout the Southeast Fire Centre.
“With the current trend of warm and dry weather in British Columbia, wildfires have displayed very aggressive behaviour and required additional fire suppression resources. Human-caused wildfires can divert critical resources and crews from responding to naturally occurring wildfires,” says the Fire Centre press release.
• Campfires, as defined in the wildfire regulation.
• The burning of any waste, slash or other materials.
• Stubble or grass fires of any size over any area.
• The use of burning barrels of any size or description.
• The use of fireworks, sky lanterns, tiki torches or outdoor fire pits.
The prohibition does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus with a CSA or ULC rating that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres. The use of a campfire apparatus that does not meet these specifications is prohibited.
Whitetail Brook Fire
The largest fire in this area remains Whitetail Brook, approximately 10 kilometres east of Canal Flats. As of the Sunday, August 3, the Southeast Fire Centre reports that fire 30 per cent contained, having grown to 975 hectares.
The following forest service roads leading to the area are now closed:
• The main Whiteswan Forest Service Road from Highway 93/95 junction to the 32-km marker.
• The main Kootenay Forest Service Road from the 3-km marker to 34.5-km (White-Rock Forest Service Road and Kootenay Forest Service Road junction).
• The entire White-Rock Forest Service Road.
River users will also not be able to access areas included in this restriction. BC Parks has evacuated Whiteswan Provincial Park and it will be closed until further notice.
Anyone found in violation of a fire prohibition, including campfires, may be issued a ticket for up to $345. Anyone who causes a wildfire through arson or recklessness may be fined up to $1 million, spend up to three years in prison and be held accountable for associated firefighting costs.
The Southeast Fire Centre covers the area extending from the U.S. border in the south to 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. This includes the Selkirk and Rocky Mountain resource districts.