Campfire. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media - File)

Campfire. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media - File)

Campfire ban lifted across the Kootenays

A campfire ban in the Kootenays has been lifted as fire officials cite favourable conditions with current and future weather forecasts, recent rain and improved overnight recoveries.

Larger Category 2 and Category 3 open burning — any fire with a footprint larger than a half-metre by a half-metre — remain banned across the Southeast Fire Centre.

Further prohibited activities include:

• the use of sky lanterns

• the use of fireworks

• the use of air curtain burners

• the use of burn barrels and burn cages

• the use of binary exploding targets

Campfires have been banned in the region since early July, as the province has experienced the worst wildfire season on record. With tinder-dry conditions over the last two months, large fires in the East and West Kootenay burned thousands of hectares and forced numerous evacuation orders and alerts.

Currently, most of the large East Kootenay wildfires are classified as ‘being held,’ meaning that the fire is not expected to spread beyond pre-existing containment lines under current and forecasted weather conditions. The ‘being held’ designation appies to the Lladner Creek wildfire near Sparwood, as well as Horsethief Creek and Yearling Creek wildfires in the Columbia Valley.

Other large fires classified as ‘out of control’ include Mia Creek northeast of Canal Flats, Mount Bingay north of Elkford, Lum Creek east of Fisher Peak near Cranbrook, and Kamma Creek west of Moyie Lake.

However, the Kamma Creek and Lum Creek fires in particular are burning in remote areas and being monitored by the BC Wildfire Service while fire suppression resources are directed to elsewhere.

The St. Mary’s River wildfire in the ʔaq̓am community north of Cranbrook is under control, and has been now for a few weeks.

The Southeast Fire Centre has 57 active fires burning as of Friday, Sept. 1, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

So far this fire season, the Southeast Fire Centre has experienced 281 wildfires that have burned 43,750 hectares.