Dry, stormy conditions breeding grounds for fires, warns centre

No fires in Trail, but as of Tuesday there were 171 fires this season in the Southeast Fire Centre.

Recent light shows in the sky may be pretty to watch but the dry storm is equally threatening, according to a local fire information officer.

Fanny Bernard of the Southeast Fire Centre says that the lightning striking in Trail and other southeast communities can slowly ignite a fire.

“Hold-over fires are ones that start when lightning ignites a tree and then the ambers just smoulder on the ground,” she explained.

“Once the conditions become better for the fire to flare up, i.e. low humidity, lots of sun and a little bit of wind (such as what is forecast over the week), these fires can pop back up again and it can take sometimes up to a week or even more.”

There are currently no sizable fires to note in Trail, though the Southeast Fire Centre is however abuzz. As of Tuesday, there were 171 fires this season, burning 928 hectares, while last year at this time only 26 fires burned 33 hectares.

“We’ve been seeing burning conditions that we usually don’t see until the core of the season of late July and August,” said Bernard. “It is very dry . . . causing for rapid ignition and then quick spread.”

The centre is reminding readers of the campfire ban in place and hopes people will be mindful and respectful of the measure.

“We want our crews to be available to respond to the naturally-occurring fires that we’re getting from the multiple lightning storms that we’ve had,” she said.

“We can’t tie up resources in responding to abandoned campfires.”

The BC Wildfire Service has responded to 887 wildfires so far this season. As of Tuesday, about 40 homes in the province were on evacuation order with approximately 920 homes on evacuation alert.

As a result of continuos extreme and high wildfire danger ratings in the province, 70 personnel from Ontario will be arriving in Abbotsford and Cranbrook to help with firefighting efforts.

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