Fire danger rating moderate in region

Small wildfire near Kimberley in mop-up stage, Southeast Fire Centre warns public about abandoning campfires, fireworks ban.

A small fire east of Kimberley has been 100 per cent contained following the long weekend with lightning being the suspected cause.

The 6.3-hectare blaze was reported on Monday, but a 20-personnel crew and two pieces of heavy equipment quickly contained the fire, which is now in mop-up phase, according to Karlie Shaughnessy, a fire information officer with the Southeast Fire Centre.

It’s the biggest fire in the region since the season began, even as the statistics show that wildfire events in the Cranbrook zone this year, 30, are below the 10-year average of 33.

“The fire danger rating for the Southeast Fire Centre is mainly moderate,” said Shaughnessy. “…As for fires within the Southeast Fire Centre, we’ve had 82 that have burned 329 hectares.

“All of them, except 36, were lightning-caused.”

Even though lightning has been the culprit for a lot of wildfires this season, the Southeast Fire Centre is warning the public about the risks of abandoned campfires.

Since Friday, the B.C. Wildfire Service has responded to nine lightning-caused wildfires and one human-caused wildfire in the Southeast Fire Centre.

“Human caused wildfires are completely preventable and unnecessarily divert firefighting resources away from naturally occurring wildfires,” read a press release from the Southeast Fire Centre.

There is currently a category 2 and category 3 burning prohibition in place, which includes a ban on the use of fireworks, as mentioned in a news release last week.

“We did see a number of reports of people lighting off fireworks, so that’s kind of what initiated that news release, so we just wanted to remind the public even though we’ve seen some rain, fireworks are still prohibited,” Shaughnessy said.

Anyone caught contravening a prohibition can be slapped with a hefty fine of $1,150 or more dire consequences such as being required to pay a $10,000 administrative penalty or, if convicted in court, pay a fine of $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail.

If the contravention contributes or causes a wildfire, the person responsible may be shouldered with paying all the firefighting costs.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning prohibition, dial *5555 on a cell phone or call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free.