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Remember the dangers of spring burning

Grass fires in the region prompt safety reminder from the RDEK
Members of the Elko and Baynes Lake Fire Departments on the scene of a grassfire late Thursday afternoon in the Jaffray area. (Photo courtesy RDEK)

A brace of grass fires in the region recently has prompted the Regional District of East Kootenay to remind residents about the dangers of spring burning.

On Thursday, the Baynes Lake and Jaffray Fire Departments responded to a grass fire in the Jaffray area.

“A private property owner was burning grass and it got away on him,” said Elk Valley & South Country Rural Fire & Rescue Chief Michael Hockley, in a release from the RDEK. “When we arrived on scene, the fire was moving into longer grass and our firefighters did a good job of containing it quickly and preventing what could have been a much more serious situation.”

Seven firefighters and five pieces of apparatus were involved in the half-hectare fire, which has now been fully extinguished.

On March 11, members of Windermere Fire responded to a one-hectare grass fire on Kootenay #3 Road,with five firefighters and two apparatus.

“This is a good reminder for everyone about the importance of ensuring the burning conditions are safe and taking steps to be prepared every time you burn outdoors,” Hockley said. “This includes having a water source, shovel or tools, burning when it’s not windy and staying on site monitoring the fire until it is completely out.”

While many residents think about the danger of burning during the heat of the summer, caution is needed throughout the next few months as well, said Columbia Valley Rural Fire & Rescue Chief Drew Sinclair.

“This time of year is known as the ‘spring dip’ where the dead, dry fuels from last season pose a fire risk due to their low moisture content and the lush, moisture-rich new vegetation has not yet started to grow.”

Barry Coulter

About the Author: Barry Coulter

Barry Coulter had been Editor of the Cranbrook Townsman since 1998.
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