The Cherry Lake wildfire is all but burned out as crews contained the blaze as of Tuesday.
Discovered a few weeks ago, the fire—30 kilometres south of Cranbrook—quickly flared up to over 1,000 hectares before crews were able to get some containment lines in.
The weather has also been helping out, with over 45 millimetres of rain falling within the last seven days. Cherry Lake even received some snow on the ground over the weekend.
“We’re just looking at some more cooler weather as well, so it’s going to help a lot,” said Fanny Bernard, a fire information officer with the Southeast Fire Centre.
There are 25 firefighters who are remaining on-scene to deal with mop-up over 1,234 hectares before the fire is relegated to patrol status.
Bernard notes that even though most fires in the Southeast Fire Centre are currently either in mop-up or on patrol, smoke may be visible.
“Even though these fires are contained and in patrol—even the ones that are in mop-up—it’s normal that some of them would be showing smoke and so even if they’re on patrol, it means that there’s someone looking at them on a regular basis to make sure it doesn’t escape containment lines,” she said.
On smaller fires, initial attack crews get down on hands and knees to check and make sure everything is cold to the touch, however, in the Cherry Creek case, there is obviously too much territory to cover.
“On some of these larger incidents, it’s pretty much impossible to cold-trail the whole thing, so with secure containment lines, 100 per cent containment, it’s in patrol, it could very well be that smoke could be coming from the perimeters of these fires,” she added.
Though there has been rain recently in the Cranbrook/Kimberley area, temperatures are expected to warm up a bit in the middle of the week. While campfires are now permitted across the SEFC, open burning is still prohibited.
“No yard waste, no fireworks, no burning barrels, just little campfires that are a half-metre by half-metre in size,” Bernard said.
“…That’s continually being looked at, and I guess it’s just a matter of making sure it’s safe. It hasn’t rained the same amounts in all the different areas in the fire centre, that’s for sure.”
The open burning prohibitions apply to all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands, but do not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has forest fire prevention bylaws and is serviced by a fire department. Local governments may have their own burning restrictions in place, so always check with local authorities before lighting any fire of any size.
Anyone operating motorized vehicles in the backcountry must also exercise caution, since the heat from an exhaust pipe – particularly in tall or dry grass – could ignite a wildfire.
The BC Wildfire Service thanks the public for its help preventing wildfires. To report a wildfire, an unattended campfire or an open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or call *5555 on a cellphone.