BC Wildfire Service personal put out a suspected human-caused fire near Horseshoe Lake. (Photo courtesy Jaime Vienneau)

BC Wildfire Service personal put out a suspected human-caused fire near Horseshoe Lake. (Photo courtesy Jaime Vienneau)

Small wildfires near Cranbrook are under control or out, but risk still high

The small Hidden Valley wildfire southeast of Cranbrook which started Sunday is under control, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

Kim Wright, Information Officer with the Southeast Fire Centre, said the fire had started in a pile of logs, had reached an area of about one tenth of a hectare, and was as of Monday, May 17, considered under control, and was being monitored by firefighters.

Another small fire broke out near Horseshoe Lake, east of Cranbrook, but was put out quickly by firefighting personal.

Wright said unseasonably warm conditions contributed to the fires, but human activity was suspected as the cause.

“We have eight fires currently burning in the Southeast Fire Centre,” she said. “And of these, only one is because of natural causes.”

While temperatures are expected to get back to seasonal norms soon, Wright is urging the public to use caution when working or recreating outdoors.

As the temperature increases, the grass cures and dries, making it extremely flammable, especially in windy conditions. There are currently no open burning prohibitions in effect within the Southeast Fire Centre. However, it is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that burning is done in a safe manner in accordance with regulations.

Before lighting any fire, it is advised to monitor the upcoming weather forecast and check with your local governments to see if any local burning restrictions are in place.

Anyone conducting an outdoor burn must adhere to the following precautions:

• Never burn in windy conditions. Weather conditions can change quickly, and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires;

• Ensure that adequate resources are on hand to control the fire and stop it from spreading;

• Create an appropriately sized fireguard around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material, right down to the mineral soil;

• Never leave a fire unattended;

• Make sure that any fire is completely extinguished, and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.

Category 3 burn registration holders are encouraged to check on piles that were burned throughout the winter to ensure they are fully extinguished.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire 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