Campfires prohibited in Nelson

Conditions are ripe for a busy fire season

Weather conditions are getting dry, so it’s time to stop having campfires.

The Southeast Fire Centre announced at noon today that campfires are now prohibited in their coverage area, as there is lightning in the forecast and conditions are ripe for a busy fire season.

“We’ve been experiencing very dry conditions, which have increased fire danger ratings significantly. We’re now at high to extreme,” information officer Karlie Shaughnessy told the Star.

“The forest fuels are all drying out and we want to decrease the risk of human-caused fires so firefighters can focus on the naturally occurring ones in the region.”

So far, within the Southeast Fire Centre’s area, there has been 56 fires that have burned 85 hectares this year. Of those fires, 33 were caused by lightning and the rest were caused by humans.

That’s below their average — last year they’d dealt with 67 fires that had burned 305 hectares by this date.

“We did experience a cool, wet spring. Nelson had a few very small lightning-caused fires, all of them out now. There were some north of Queens Bay and on the west side of Kootenay Lake from lightning we saw come through at the end of June.”

During the campfire ban, other activities that are prohibited include grass or stubble fires, the use of fireworks, sky lanterns and tiki torches, the burning of barrels or exploding cages of any kind, and the use of binary exploding targets and air curtain bans.

“While we’re experiencing conditions below the five-year average, we still have the right weather conditions to experience a very busy fire season. With the current forecast and conditions, we have pre-positioned our crews all around so they’re ready to react or fight any fires that do start.”