Fire at Champion Lakes has crews on site

The number of reported wild fires this summer has been one for the record books.

The number of reported wild fires this summer has been one for the record books.

So far this season, the Southeast Fire Centre has seen 238 fires which have burned 409 hectares, according to Jordan Turner, the Centre’s fire information officer.

The five-year average for this time of year is 220 fires, and this time last year, the number was significantly lower, with 54 fires burning 174 hectares.

Greater Trail has been at a moderate to high fire danger rating since July, due to extended high temperatures weather and dry forest fuels.

A moderate to high fire danger rating means that forest fuels are drying, which increases the risk of surface fires. New fires may start easily, spread quickly and challenge fire suppression efforts.

Lightning sparked one fire earlier this week in an area north of Champion Lakes, six kilometres east of the Columbia River between Trail and Castlegar.

Air tankers were dispatched Tuesday to establish fire retardant lines, and one initial attack crew was on site Thursday.

The 0.3 hectare fire is expected to be contained today and due to the remote area, no structures are threatened.

“Most of the fires this season were lightning-caused, but 34 were person-caused,” said Turner. “Currently the weather is cooperating and helping crews suppress the 59 fires still burning through the centre’s region.”

In August 114 fires were reported in the Southeast Fire Centre, an area covering six zones that stretch from the B.C./Alberta border in the east to the Boundary area in the west and from the Canada/US border in the south to the North Columbia/Golden region in the North.

Open fire burning, which includes incendiaries such as fireworks and sky lanterns, have been prohibited since July 8.

Campfires within the regulation size of no larger than 0.5 metres by 0.5 metres, are still allowed,

Turner said a shovel and at least eight litres of water must be readily available to extinguish the flames.

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