Storm sparks local fire

Lightning strikes from Wednesday evening's thunderstorm have started a small wildfire near Trail.

Lightning strikes from Wednesday evening’s thunderstorm have started a small wildfire near Trail.

Forest Information Officer Fanny Bernard of the Southeast Fire Centre says crews were on the scene Thursday, between Ryan Creek and Casino Creek, to make sure it didn’t get any bigger.

“We have a crew on site at a fire about five kilometres south of Trail. We have a three person initial attack crew there,” she said, adding that there is no danger to the community or to any buildings.

“(The fire) is less than one hectare and there are currently no structures or communities at risk.”

Bernard says “there was too much lightning to count” the individual strikes in Wednesday’s storm, but the rain that accompanied it helps lower the danger of lightning-caused wildfires.

“There was a lot of lightning that came in with the storm, but there was also variable amounts of rain,” she said. “(The rain) helps to put out the fires that start up with the lightning.”

This isn’t always the case, though.

“There is always a chance that with the drying trend we will see this weekend and going into August, that some of those lightning strikes might hold over,” she said. “If the ground has been really dry and lightning hits and it can smoulder a little bit and possible start fires later if the weather stays dry. It can smoulder and reignite with warmer temperatures and lower humidity.”

Two fires in Slocan Valley, one at Enterprise Creek and the other at Monument Creek, are now 100 per cent contained after being ignited by lightning, thanks to the efforts of firefighters on the ground and in the air and cooler weather.

“We have 20 ground crews currently on the Enterprise Creek fire and six ground crews working on the Monument Creek fire,” said Bernard. “With the cooler weather and the higher precipitation, it is definitely contributing to the success of the crews. There is still no danger to any communities.”

The fires began burning last Friday and had doubled in size by this past Monday. Initially, there were 55 firefighters trying to out the fires.

Campfires are still allowed in the region, but Bernard wants to remind campers that all campfires have to be within regulations. Fires must be within the half-metre by half-metre size range, have at least eight litres of water nearby and a hand tool, such as a shovel, to make sure the fire is completely extinguished.

Anybody who sees any burning or an unattended campfire can call the authorities at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cell phone to report it.

For more information on fire bans and the status of signifiant wildfires, visit www.bcwildfire.ca

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