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Firefighters respond to grass fire near Elko

Windy conditions pushed slash burn beyond initial control

Firefighters in the South Country contained a grass fire on Saturday afternoon near Elko after windy conditions pushed a slash burn beyond initial control.

“A contractor was burning slash piles in an area where burning is currently permitted. Although he had taken safety precautions and had equipment on site, the fire got away in the windy conditions,” said Michael Hockley, the deputy chief of the Elk Valley & South Country Rural Fire & Rescue. “When we arrived on scene, the fire had spread into the grass and was quickly growing. Our firefighters did a good job of containing the grass fire in and around the highway. We were very lucky it wasn’t worse.”

Six firefighters, as well as a water tender from Baynes Lake and a fire engine from Elko responded to the scene, while the contractor conducting the slash burn also assisted. Due to the efforts from all resources on the fire, the B.C. Wildfire Service did not need to be dispatched.

“We recognize there are people in zones where burning is still permitted trying to get spring burning done before next week when Province-wide restrictions come into effect; however, today is a good reminder of the importance of ensuring the burning conditions are safe,” said Hockley. “Anyone doing spring burning must make sure they are taking steps to be prepared by 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.”

A province wide ban on category 2 and 3 open fires, fireworks and burn barrels will come into effect on Thursday, April 16th.

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Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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