Fire season heats up

Recent fires near Castlegar and Champion Lakes have Greater Trail crews on alert

Although fire season in Greater Trail is just heating up, weeks of hot temperatures have put the area at a higher than normal risk of forest fires for this time of year.

Two fire events happened last week, the first in a remote area of Champion Lakes on Thursday.

The fire was on the west side ridge of the Champion Lakes Park area, halfway between the group of lakes and the river, said Jordan Turner, Fire Information Officer for the Southeast Fire Centre.

One initial attack crew responded to put out the fire, and no structures, campsites or roads were affected.

The cause was determined to be natural, a lightning strike, and 0.2 hectares in size, he added.

A second fire was reported on the east side of the Columbia River above the Poupore flats in Castlegar on Saturday.

“Initially smoke was reported by a pilot that afternoon,” said Turner.

He said smoke was again reported by a homeowner in the Fairview area of Castlegar later that evening.

On Sunday morning, a wildfire management branch helicopter carried a three-person “Initial Attack Crew” into the area to begin to fight the fire, said Turner.

The fire was 100 per cent contained that afternoon and the crew was flown out by helicopter with the fire now reported as out.

There were no injuries on scene and because of the remoteness of the fire, no structures were threatened.

The fire was caused by a lightning strike, said Turner, adding that it was a rank one fire, meaning it was a smouldering ground, and “creeping surface fire,” less that one hectare in size.

Turner said the fire danger risk is unusually high in Greater Trail for mid-July, which is a direct result of extended high temperatures.

“The Trail area is at a moderate to high fire danger rating,” said Turner.

“It’s been very hot the last few weeks and the forest fuels such as dead branches and pine needles are drying out rapidly.”

The area is looking more like it usually would in early August, he said.

So far this season, 41 fires have been reported in the Southeast Fire Centre, an area covering six zones that stretch from the B.C./Alberta border in the east to the Boundary area in the west and from the Canada/US border in the south to the North Columbia/Golden region in the north.

Open fire burning, which includes incendiaries such as fireworks and sky lanterns,  have been prohibited since July 8.

Campfires within the regulation size of no larger than 0.5 metres by 0.5 metres, are still allowed.

Turner said a shovel and at least eight litres of water must be readily available to extinguish the flames.

To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call (star) *5555 on a cellphone or 1-800-663-5555. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning prohibitions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit bcwildfire.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP seek public’s help in identifying suspects responsible for keying cars in Castlegar

At least three cars have been keyed in north Castlegar in the last 24 hours

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

Morning start: A history of the Arrow Lakes

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Wednesday, May 27

Castlegar residents can now report minor crimes to RCMP online

New reporting tool available for Castlegar, Robson, Ootischenia, Thrums, Deer Park, Glade, Tarrys

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read