More than 20 fires started by lightning in the Kootenays – BC News

The Southeast Fire Centre is now the most active in the province.

Between Thursday and Saturday, more than 20 wildfires were sparked by a series of storms that blew through, bringing lightning and not much precipitation.

“So far in the Southeast, we’ve had 23 new starts since Thursday evening,” said fire information officer Kim Wright.

“The majority of these starts are mid- to higher-elevation initial attack targets. So they’re smaller fires at the moment.”

The fire causing the most concern is east of Nelson, along the Kootenay River.

“We have the Mt Ferguson fire, which is approximately four kilometres from the community of Harrop,” explains Wright. “It’s estimated to be 1.5 hectares, and is not threatening any structures at this time.”

There are two rapattack crews, that rappel down from helicopters, and one initial attack crew working on the fire.

“So, they’re working on suppressing the fire, they’re building helicopter pads, and they’re creating better access for water delivery on that one,” Wright said, adding that two helicopters are on-scene cooling the fire and moving resources around in the difficult terrain.

There is also a cluster of lightning-caused fires on Frog Peak, west of Highway 6. Helicopters and initial attack crews are working on those small fires. Air tankers put down fire retardant on the area Saturday, and are available if there are any flare-ups.

Wright points out that the thunderstorms were in the forecast, so the BC Wildfire Service had additional crews and aviation resources prepped and ready to go in advance.

The fire danger rating in the Southeast Fire Centre is mostly moderate to high with a few pockets of extreme, but hot, dry weather is settling in.

“Our weather is forecast to continue to be well above seasonal normals for this time,” she said.

“We are just asking people to be cautious when they’re out, be cautious with their campfire use. We aren’t quite at a campfire prohibition yet.”

Wright urges people living in the area to protect their homes and businesses using the FireSmart principles, by taking simple steps like keeping the grass mowed and moving firewood away from homes.

Leave a Comment