Public asked to stay diligent outdoors

The Southeast Fire Centre is encouraging the public to continue to be aware of potential fire risks despite a slower than normal year.

The Southeast Fire Centre is encouraging the public to continue to be aware of potential fire risks despite a slower than normal year.

Fire wardens and fire personnel have been out patrolling the area to ensure campfire safety.

“We want to save our resources for fighting lightning caused fires and those kinds of fires and really reduce the number of person caused fires,” said Erin Catherall, fire information officer.

Catherall said this season has been much slower than past years, “But we have seen warmer and drier conditions over the past few weeks, so that has definitely elevated the fire risks.”

Currently the fire danger rating area is high with a patch of extreme in the Boundary zone and high to moderate with a patch of low in the Arrow zone, while in the Kootenay Lake, Invermere and Cranbrook zones it’s high to moderate, and low to moderate in the Columbia zone.

“Since August 12, the Southeast Fire Centre has had a total of 27 abandoned campfires, with two fires caused by campfires,” said Catherall.

Because of the increases in the fire danger ratings the fire centre is reminding the public to be careful when building campfires.

“Campfires should be no bigger than a half a metre high and half a metre in diameter. All other fires have been banned,” she said.

Campers are reminded that failure to properly extinguish a campfire will result in a $345 fine. In addition, if their campfire escapes and causes a wildfire, they may be held liable for all resulting suppression costs and damages.

“Fire wardens and other personnel will continue to patrol the area just to insure that people are abiding by fire regulations,” said Catherall.

Due to the slower fire season, 43 fire personal from the area have gone off to Ontario to help with their wildfires.

“If activity did increase significantly for the Southeast Fire Centre, crews can be recalled at any time,” said Catherall.

There are three active fires in the area.

“They are all spot sites which means there 0.0009 hectares or less. There is one in the Boundary area, one in the Columbia zone and one in the Kootenay Lake zone. The Kootenay Lake zone fire is northeast of Redfish Creek. We have a four-person crew attending to it as well as a helicopter. It was a lightning caused fire,” she said.

A total of 127 campfire incidents have been reported in the Southeast Fire Centre.

The five-year average for this time of year is 119.

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