Southeast Fire Centre busy with a few small blazes this past week, remind the public that a fire ban remains in effect.

Southeast Fire Centre busy with a few small blazes this past week, remind the public that a fire ban remains in effect.

Fire crews battling small local blazes

Local firefighting unit crews are helping out with fires in B.C. Interior

While wildfires continue to burn in the B.C. Interior, the Southeast Fire Centre says that Cranbrook and the East Kootenay area remain relatively unscathed save for a few small blazes.

South of Canal Flats on Johnson Forest Service Road, five firefighters are working on a small wildfire one hectare in size that was reported on Wednesday, according to Karlie Shaughnessy, a fire information office with the Southeast Fire Centre.

The cause is still under investigation, however, it is not threatening any structures or communities.

Another small fire, 20 kilometres south of Cranbrook and west of Moyie, is less than a hectare in size that was discovered on Thursday morning. As of press time, there were two initial attack crews (six firefighters) working to extinguish the blaze and also isn’t threatening any structures or communities.

A few small fires reported near Kimberley earlier this week are now out, Shaughnessy said.

The fire danger rating for the area remains high, she added.

While there hasn’t been any major fire events, recent storms bringing rain and lightning have created a few small spot fire events throughout the region.

“We had a little bit of rain at the beginning of the week and that lowered the danger rating, but it only takes a day of hot dry weather, and today we saw wind pick up so that dries fuels out really fast as well,” Shaughnessy said.

“We had, from the Monday evening lightning, we had 28 fires discovered the next day and thankfully those storms came with a little bit of spotty showers, so while it did start some fires, it could have started more.”

To date this fire season, the Southeast Fire Centre has had 98 fires burn only 118 hectares. The five year average for this time of year is 70 fires burning 385 hectares, said Shaughnessy.

While the Southeast Fire Centre hasn’t had a major fire event, the BC Interior has been dealing with major fire events in the communities of Ashcroft, Williams Lake, Princeton, 100 Mile House, Quesnel and more.

With such a need to combat those fires, the Southeast Fire Centre has sent personnel to help out. The Monashee and Flathead unit crews, which comprise 20 firefighters each, have headed to the Cariboo region, along with three initial attack crews (three firefighters each), while Columbia and Rocky Mountain unit crews were sent to Cache Creek.

All told, 107 personnel from the Southeast Fire Centre are helping out with fires in the B.C. Interior, however, Shaughnessy ensures that there is enough staff to handle any fire events that flare up locally.

“Obviously we don’t want to send all our people because we’re dealing with fires in our own fire centre,” she said.

Shaughnessy reminds the public that any open fires or campfires are currently prohibited across the province given the hot and dry conditions.

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

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