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Lightning ignites 28 fires overnight Monday

Southeast Fire Centre reported five new wildfires in the Kootenay Lake zone

Lightning ignited 28 forest fires in the Southeast Fire Centre on Monday night, with five of those located in the Kootenay Lake Zone.

“The closest one to Nelson is located up Duhamel Creek, at a high elevation, and it’s not threatening any communities or structures,” information officer Karlie Shaughnessy told the Star on Tuesday morning.

Luckily, that fire is in the vicinity of the large-scale Sitkum fires of 2015, so that area is unlikely to see another threat like that for a while. Right now it’s sitting at 0.04 hectares, and crews were expected to extinguish the blaze by the end of the day.

“If a forest burns once, it doesn’t tend to burn again for a while. Crews will be on that shortly, and they should be able to get it under control.”

Another nearby fire is at the north end of Kootenay Lake, near Meadow Creek. It’s 0.05 hectares and was also caused by lightning.

“We’re expecting more fires to emerge today as they’re reported.”

The weather station in Nelson recorded 12 millimetres of rain during the storm, according to Shaughnessy. Due to the westerly flow of winds from fires burning to the west in the Cariboo and Kamloops areas, residents can expect to see hazy skies for the next day or two.

“Most of the heavy smoke is in the northern part of our coverage area, near Revelstoke, but winds can change hourly,” she said.

In the meantime, a campfire ban remains in place.

“We’ve been experiencing very dry conditions, which have increased fire danger ratings significantly. We’re now at high to extreme,” she said.

“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.”