Firefighters were called to a wildfire burning above Skaha Lake. (Skylar Noe Vack/Black Press)

Firefighters were called to a wildfire burning above Skaha Lake. (Skylar Noe Vack/Black Press)

Lightning sparks numerous wildfires in southeast B.C.

BC Wildfire Service personnel are responding to numerous lightning-caused fires.

BC Wildfire Service personnel are currently responding to numerous lightning-caused fires throughout the Arrow Fire Zone and the Kootenay Lake Fire Zone.

None of these fires is currently threatening any structures or communities.

Three separate lightning fires started on June 26 in the Arrow Fire Zone and each of them covers less than one hectare. BC Wildfire Service personnel are at the site of a fire burning about 12 kilometres southwest of Nakusp, near Saddle Bay.

Another fire is about seven kilometres northeast of Nakusp near Mount Jordan, and fire suppression efforts there are being supported by a helicopter. The third fire is about three kilometres northeast of New Denver, and BC Wildfire Service personnel there are being supported by an air tanker.

Five BC Wildfire Service personnel are currently heading to a wildfire near Blueberry Creek, about seven kilometres southwest of Castlegar. The fire was estimated to cover less than one hectare as of the afternoon of June 27.

Three separate lightning fires started June 26 in the Kootenay Lake Fire Zone, and each of them covers less than one hectare. One is near Trout Lake, another is about four kilometres northwest of Queens Bay and the third is about two kilometres northwest of Blake. Each fire has BC Wildfire Service personnel on site and the fire northwest of Blake also has a helicopter working on it.

A 30-hectare wildfire was discovered near Bull River (about 24 kilometres northwest of Fernie) on June 25. Twenty BC Wildfire Service personnel are currently working on this fire with the aid of three pieces of heavy equipment. As of the afternoon of June 27, this fire was “being held”, which means that significant fire suppression has occurred and the fire is not likely to spread further under current conditions. There were no lightning strikes in the area when this fire started and the cause is currently under investigation.

The BC Wildfire Service is reminding the public that unattended or abandoned campfires can easily start a fire. This type of human-caused wildfire is completely preventable and diverts crucial resources away from naturally occurring wildfires.

From April 1 to June 27, 2017, the Southeast Fire Centre has responded to 26 wildfires that have burned 39 hectares. Thirteen of these fires were caused by lightning, while the remaining 26 were human-caused. Last year on this day, a total of 37 fires had burned 312 hectares.

The fire danger rating in most of the Southeast Fire Centre is currently “moderate” or “high”, with some areas of “extreme” fire danger in the Cranbrook Fire Zone.

The Southeast Fire Centre extends from the U.S. border in the south to the Mica Dam in the north and from the Okanagan Highlands and Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east. The Southeast Fire Centre includes the Selkirk Natural Resource District and the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call *5555 on a cellphone or 1 800 663-5555 toll-free. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca