Danger remains as fire season wraps up

Province had third-worst season of hectares burned since record-keeping began in 1950.

Fire season is all but over, but conditions are still dry enough to be a danger, according to a fire information officer for the Southeast Fire Centre.

“Every day, it gets a little less dry,” said Jordan Turner, a fire information officer. “I know it’s been hot still through the East Kootenay area, so right now we’re keeping an eye on it every day, we still have crews ready for anything that may come up, but there has been a significant decrease in fire activity.”

However, as hunting season begins, Turner warns that unattended campfires still pose a danger.

“Unattended campfires are a major thing,” Turner added. “People think it’s getting colder, and that’s a big danger right now, so make sure your campfires are completely out, ashes are cold to the touch and never leave a campfire unattended.

“As far as your area there, there’s still the possibility of fires starting, so we need people to be aware and keep their eyes out and phone in any smoke you see on hillsides.”

It’s been a busy season for the wildfire season in the province, with the largest amount of hectares burned in 30 years—the third worst since the province started keeping records in 1950.

Turner said the the biggest challenge was dividing fire suppression resources between major fires up in northern B.C., while keeping enough personnel and equipment for Southeast Fire Centre activity.

“We had very large wildfires and our biggest challenge here in the Southeast was a lot of our crews were needed to fight those fires up north—a lot of our personnel and support staff were needed for those fires and make sure they were kept under control.

“Of course, there were a lot of communities evacuated up there to protect those communities, so the challenge for us in the Southeast, was to work with the resources we had and make sure we had everything covered here. It didn’t pose any major issues for us, but that was kind of the biggest challenge here, as far as the fire season.”

Provincially, there were 1,424 fires that burned roughly 3,590 square kilometres, according to Kevin Skrepnek, the chief provincial fire information officer.

“When you look at the statistics in terms of the number of fires we’ve had, we’ve had a little over 1,400—1,424—that’s actually below average in terms of the number of fires. So what we saw this year was a below average number of fires, but in terms of the area burned, quite above normal.”

In the Southeast Fire Centre, there was 228 lightning-caused fires and 55 person-caused fires that burned a total of 6,633 hectares. In the Cranbrook area, there were 21 lightning-caused fires and 22 person-caused fires that burned 223 hectares.

Much of the hectares burned in the Cranbrook area was due to prescribed burning to contain a remote fire up in the Tanglefoot region.

“Other than that, mostly through the Cranbrook area, we had quite a lot of small fires that initial attack crews—three-person crews—got on right away and put out while they were still small,” Turner said.

The largest fire in the Southeast centre was the White Complex which included, at it’s peak, seven fires.

“They’re all contained, but it probably will continue till it snows, just because the larger fires are somewhat remote and since there is containment around them, we’re just letting them do their natural thing,” said Turner.

From a provincial standpoint, the largest fire was the Chelaslie River fire near Burns Lake that burned 1,330 square kilometres. It’s still actively burning, but roughly 75 per cent contained.

The worst two fire seasons, in terms of hectares burned, was 1958 when 8,590 square kilometres burned. Three years later, 4,830 square kilometres burned in 1961 which holds the second-worst record.

With files from the Canadian Press


Just Posted

Scholarships winners included Emma Andrews (CBT $2000), Declan Armstrong (Kimberley Teachers Association $2000), Darah Clarke (COTR $2000), Ryan Renaud (COTR Entrance Scholarship $8500), Chaes Flegal (Kimberley Elks Club $2000) and Georgia Polomski-McKinnon (CBT $2000).
Selkirk grad scholarship winners

The following Selkirk Secondary students won scholarships at graduation this past weekend:… Continue reading

With high temperatures forecasted for the week and into the next, Interior Health is offering some tips on how to keep yourself safe from heat-related illness. (Pixabay)
Interior Health offers safety tips as temperatures soar

‘Too much heat can be harmful to your health’

Kurt Swanson’s dog Kona takes a break from the heat on the Summer Solstice near Cranbrook, B.C. (Kurt Swanson photo)
Very warm temperatures forecast across the Kootenays this weekend

Nelson, Castlegar forecast to hit 39, Cranbrook 37

The race route takes riders over the summit of Gray Creek Pass from Kootenay Laketo Kimberley. Bohdan Doval file.
Bike race from Merritt to Fernie will be coming over Gray Creek Pass on June 28

Tom Lymbery of the Gray Creek Store says that a 1000 kilometre… Continue reading

Kimberley Search and Rescue were able to quickly respond to a call for service and transport an injured mountain biker to East Kootenay Regional Hospital over the weekend. Kimberley SAR file photo.
Kimberley Search and Rescue respond to injured mountain biker on Bootleg Mountain

Kimberley Search and Rescue responded to a call for service this past… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

Most Read