Lightning lights up the forest

Over 40 wildfires sprang up in the region of the Southeast Fire Centre last weekend and lightning was the culprit.

Over 40 wildfires sprang up in the region of the Southeast Fire Centre last weekend and lightning was the culprit.

The Wildfire Management Branch responded to the lightning-caused wildfires, the majority of which are small and none are threatening structures or communities.

“The nearest one (to Rossland) is east of Salmo and it’s a spot-sized, lightning caused fire,” said Karlie Shaughnessy, fire information officer. “There hasn’t been a lot of activity in our region, fortunately.”

The Perry Ridge fire, west of Winlaw, grew to about 65 hectares and is now in patrol stage. It is no longer considered a fire of note.

The Fire Danger Rating is mainly “moderate” to “high” throughout the Southeast Fire Centre with the exception of the Cranbrook Fire Zone, which is “low” to “moderate.”

In the most active part of the fire centre, the Columbia Fire Zone, 16 wildfires are burning.

All of them are small, spot-sized fires in remote areas. The largest of these is estimated at 10 hectares and is burning east of Highway 1 in the Jumping Creek area, approximately 35 kilometres northeast of Revelstoke.

Smoke may be visible in the region this week, however, since wind is carrying smoke north from multiple large wildfires in Idaho.

As of Monday, Aug. 12, 176 wildfires have burned 296 hectares in the Southeast Fire Centre. Of those fires, 141 were caused by lightning and the rest were caused by people. The five-year average for the number of wildfires by this time of year is 181 fires.

While there is currently no campfire ban in the Southeast Fire Centre, people are being asked to remain diligent and practise proper campfire safety.

“Never leave a campfire unattended and always extinguish it completely before leaving the area,” said Shaughnessy.

People can call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cell phone to submit a report of a wildfire.

For the latest information on fire activity, conditions and prohibitions, visit the Wildfire Management Branch website: www.bcwildfire.ca.