Wildfire burns near Winlaw as the forests become a concern during the current streak of hot and dry weather.

Wildfire season heats up with blaze near Winlaw

Forest fire season has begun in the Southeast Fire Centre with two fires burning in the Slocan Valley.

Forest fire season has begun in the Southeast Fire Centre with two fires burning in the Slocan Valley.

The wildfires are about 4.5 kilometres west of Winlaw. One is a spot fire, less than one hectare, and the other is four hectares in size.

They are burning high on a ridge away from structures and are being fought with air tankers, says Jordan Turner, information officer with the Southeast Fire centre.

“There are no roads up into the area so we’re attacking it by air right now,” said Turner.

In addition to air tankers, there are 31 staff working on the fire, two heavy helicopters, one intermediate helicopter and one rappel crew.

“It’s not contained yet,” said Turner. “We’re still in response mode right now.”

Into full summer the sun has been shining and little rain has fallen. Fires are a concern for those watching the woods.

“This might be the hottest week of the summer,” Turner said. “With these hot dry conditions and lightning storms coming through the area, fires do start. We’re currently monitoring precipitation levels and doing our best to respond to fires as they occur.”

The fires near Winlaw were lightening caused but Turner would like the public to be aware of the risks coming with recreational fires.

“We’d like the public to remain vigilant with their campfires so all our resources can be used to respond to these naturally occurring fires,” he said.

Currently, there have been 59 fires in the Southeast Fire Centre consuming 176 hectares. Of these fires 28 were person caused and lightning caused 31.

The fire danger rating varies throughout the Southeast with it being extreme in areas such as Revelstoke, Cranbrook and Grand Forks.

The Southeast Fire Centre encompasses an area extending from the US border in the south to Mica Dam in the north and from the Okanagan Highlands and Monashee Mountains in the west to the BC-Alberta border in the east. This includes the Selkirk and Rocky Mountain districts.