Many new lightning caused fires

Cooler temperatures gave an assist on fires over the weekend, but lightning caused many new starts across BC and the Southeast Fire Centre.

  • Jul. 13, 2015 8:00 a.m.

CAROLYN GRANT

Cooler temperatures gave an assist on some fires over the weekend, but lightning caused many new starts across the province and the Southeast Fire Centre.

Jordan Turner of the Southeast Fire Centre said on Saturday that there were 44 new lightning caused fires over Friday night across the area.

There was a new start  two kilometres south of Silverton and east of Highway 6, near Beaverton Creek and the base of Mount Aylwin. It was estimated at seven hectares in size on Saturday. BC Wildfire Service crews, helicopters and airtankers are on scene. The Regional District of Central Kootenay has issued an Evacuation Alert in the area

Locally, the Baynes Lake fire is 100 per cent contained, with crews only mopping up hot spots. According to Loree Duczek of the RDEK the fire is no longer considered a ‘fire of note’.

Further north near Spillamacheen, there was no significant growth of the fire burning near the highway. It remains at 54 hectares and has been classed as 100 per cent contained. Contract firefighters and one officer remain on site but heavy equipment and air support has been moved out.

Other new starts include:

•  A 0.7 hectare fire near China Creek, three kilometres west of Castlegar

• A group of four small fires directly across Lower Arrow Lake from Deer Park

•  A 0.4 hectare fire near Nemo Creek, two kilometres off the west shore of Slocan Lake

“During times of increased activity, the BC Wildfire Service prioritizes fires and wildfire suppression response,” Turner said. “If fires are not posing an immediate threat to residences we may make resources available for higher priority incidents. The primary objectives of the BC Wildfire Service are the safety of our crews, along with protecting life and property.”

The busiest fire centres in the province currently are the Prince George Fire Centre where there are seven wildfires of note; the Coastal Fire Centre where there are six; and Kamloops where there are four fires of note.

In the Cariboo, the Puntzi Lake fire was over 7,000 hectares. An evacuation order is in effect and the Cariboo Regional District said Saturday that a resort, two permanent homes, a seasonal home and multiple outbuildings on four properties were confirmed lost in the fire.

The BC Wildfire Service is urging the public to be extra cautious in the backcountry. All person-caused fires are preventable and these incidents may affect the ability of the firefighting crews to respond to naturally occurring fires.

To report a wildfire 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, visit: http://www.bcwildfire.ca