Open fires remain prohibited in the Southeast Fire Centre. (Photo by Jackson Hendry on Unsplash)

West Kootenay CO says people still lighting fires

The West Kootenay region is tinder dry, had only 9 per cent of normal rainfall in August

B.C. Conservation Officer Blair Thin has heard it all when it comes to people explaining why they lit a fire when open burning is banned.

No excuse will fly, especially this summer, the worst fire season in B.C. history.

“I’ve had people tell me their fire is safe because they’ve been having them for the last 50 years, not that that has anything to do with logic,” he said. “Other people are having smudge fires, or they are burning manure in order to keep the bugs down from the livestock. That might be the honourable thing to do as far as animal husbandry is concerned, but it’s also against the law,” he added.

“It just takes a single spark to light a fire.”

Since July, there’s been an open fire ban in the Southeast Fire Centre. Thin is one of six officers who work for the centre’s wildfire branch to patrol in the evening hours.

Even with all the smoke still present and fires actively burning in the West Kootenay, people are still lighting fires. Just Wednesday night, he dealt with someone who lit a campfire at Rosebud Lake.

“For whatever reason, people believe that the fires they are having are safe fires,” said Thin. “Every evening we’ve been hitting the different zones within the Southeast Fire Centre – which include the Boundary, Arrow Lake and Kootenay Lake fire zones – in order to educate and locate people who are actually breaking the law when it comes to open fires,” he added.

“And we deal with them accordingly, with a $1,000 fine.”

Though temperatures are cooling, there’s been little rain for months and region is tinder dry.

“It’s still fire season out there,” Thin said. “And the bush around us is still burning.”

Just Posted

UPDATE: Accident closes Hwy 22 near Castlegar

Highway not expected to reopen until Sunday.

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Métis Flag flies in Trail on Louis Riel Day

Area students, officials and public attend flag raising at Trail City Hall

Early Trail borrowed a couple of names from the U.S.

Place Names: Connection between Trail and Butte, Montana

First Past the Post is the only option

Letter to the Editor by Dieter Bogs of Trail

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

Legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

Most Read