East Kootenay Fire Update

Passing along information from the Southeast Fire Centre as the Fire Danger Rating throughout the Southeast is “high”, with large areas of “extreme” in the East Kootenay, West Kootenay and Boundary regions. There were 60 new lightning-caused fire starts through the weekend in the Southeast Fire Centre, and continued hot and dry conditions are expected through this next week which may result in extreme fire behaviour.

As of 1:00pm Mountain Time today, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, campfires will be prohibited throughout the Southeast Fire Centre.  This is in addition to the Open Burning ban that was put in place at the beginning of July.

For information on air quality and smoke forecasts for Western Canada, visit the BC Air Quality website: www.bcairquality.ca/bluesky/west/index.html (this site shows you an hour by hour prediction of smoke. It’s a great resource).

To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

There was one new fire up St. Mary Lake area discovered Friday afternoon that they were actioning by air and ground over the weekend. It is in a very remote area and is not threatening any structures at this time.

Here is some additional information on the campfire ban from the SE Fire Centre:

Specifically, prohibited activities include:

* Campfires, as defined in the wildfire regulation.

* The burning of any waste, slash or other materials.

* Stubble or grass fires of any size over any area.

* The use of burning barrels of any size or description.

* The use of fireworks, sky lanterns, tiki torches or chimineas (outdoor fire pits).

The prohibition does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus with a CSA or ULC rating that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres. The use of a campfire apparatus that does not meet these specifications is prohibited.

The open burning prohibition covers all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands, lands within rural RDEK (outside municipal boundaries). It does not apply within the boundaries of municipalities that have forest fire prevention bylaws and are serviced by fire departments. Please check with local governments for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.

Anyone found in violation of a fire prohibition, including campfires, may be issued a ticket for up to $345. Anyone who causes a wildfire through arson or recklessness may be fined up to $1 million, spend up to three years in prison and be held accountable for associated firefighting costs.

The Southeast Fire Centre would like to thank the public for reporting wildfires and using fire safely during this period of elevated wildfire danger.

The Southeast Fire Centre covers the area extending from the U.S. border in the south to Mica Dam in the north and from the Okanagan Highlands and Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east. This includes the Selkirk and Rocky Mountain resource districts.

For information on air quality and smoke forecasts for Western Canada, visit the BC Air Quality website: www.bcairquality.ca/bluesky/west/index.html

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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