With files from Chelsea Novak
With wildfires burning all over the province, the fire ban issued by the Ministry of Forests for the Southeast Fire Centre remains in full effect. The ban prohibits campfires, the use of fireworks and the burning of waste. A full list of banned activities can be found online at http://bit.ly/1GlhE9l. BC Wildfire Service information officer, Fanny Bernard, wants to remind residents that there has not been significant precipitation to change the fire threat level.
“Even though there may be isolated showers in your area, the Southeast fire centre is still suffering from dry conditions and very dry, combustible material on the ground.” Bernard said.
Currently there are no wildfires near Rossland. The closest fire to hit the area was the fire outside Castlegar at Blueberry Creek, which BC Wildfire Service crews contained Sunday afternoon.
Initial attack crews are four-person teams that are deployed to small fire reports to action reported burns. These crews are highly trained and are often transported by helicopter with enough resources and supplies to last 24 hours on site. Crews have been quick to respond to burns and Bernard acknowledges the current successful fire management efforts as a “testament to the hard work these initial attack crews are doing in these challenging conditions.”
Unfortunately, the efforts of the BC Wildfire service crews are being counteracted by calls received by Bernard’s office reporting abandoned campfires in the Southeast fire center, “which should not be happening during the current ban.” There has been more dry lightning activity in the area and crews are expecting an increase in hold-over fires caused by ground strikes. “Our resources need to be available to respond to these hold-over fires,” Bernard reiterates, “instead of responding to reports of human error.”
Residents are reminded to respect the fire ban and to be conscientious of their outdoor activities, such as idling hot motorized vehicles over dry grass and tossing cigarettes out of their car windows.
To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.