Fire danger high to extreme in East Kootenay

Fireworks not allowed this Canada Day except municipal celebrations with permit

The fire danger rating is high in the entire East Kootenay and extreme in areas around Jaffray and Fernie, the Southeast Fire Centre reports.

At present, there is a four-man initial attack crew on one fire near Wardner, says Sanny Bernard from the Southeast Fire Centre.

“However, we did have a lot of lightning with no rain over Sunday night and it could take time for those lightning fires to show up. We could be looking at the affect of that dry lightning into this week.”

Which brings us to Canada Day. Bernard wants to emphasize that fireworks are currently banned, so private fireworks celebrations cannot happen.

“Cities that don’t fall under the jurisdiction of the Southeast Fire Centre can apply for their own permit with the cooperation of their fire chief,” Bernard said. “That is independent of us.”

The City of Cranbrook was intending to go ahead with their Canada fireworks at press time.

The question looming of course, is whether there will be a campfire ban imposed in the coming days.

And that is partially up to residents themselves, Bernard says.

“It has been really dry and we haven’t gotten the normal amount of rain in June. Putting on a campfire ban is based on fire load and also on the number of incidents of non-compliance. The public will be notified if a ban is put on.

“Right now campfires are allowed if they are kept small, never left untended and are completely extinguished before leaving. That means turned with a hand tool and at least eight litres of water. The ashes should be cool to touch before you leave the fire.

“Our wardens found five abandoned campfires over the weekend and that’s too many.”