Smoke from Hanna Creek fire on Sunday. (Lisa Keech photo)

Lightning strike behind Oasis smoke

Wildfire season heating up in Trail and Greater Area

A wildfire that began smoking above Oasis a few days ago was a holdover from a previous lightning strike, reports the Southeast Fire Centre.

But the plume of smoke was clearly visible in the valley, and serves a good reminder that even though there’s been rainfall the last two weeks, fire season is heating up.

The lightning-caused Hanna Creek fire was initially reported on Friday, June 28, so it was already on the centre’s radar.

“We will monitor those to see if there is any activity because a lot of them will self-extinguish if there is precipitation associated with it,” explained Fire Information Officer Ashley Davidoff. “With this one, the fire behaviour started again on June 30. So as soon as that happened, we sent in an Initial Attack Crew, and the three-man crew was able to contain it within the day.”

The fire centre will do a final patrol this week, but no crews have been required on site since late Sunday.

Although the area’s Fire Danger Rating is presently “low,” caution must be exercised when lighting a match because fires may start easily and spread quickly. The “low” classification means there will be minimal involvement of deeper fuel layers or larger fuels.

Previous: Helitankers used to douse Trail wildfire

Campfires, or “Category 2,” open burning is permitted in the Southeast Fire Centre at this point, though Category 3 open burning has been banned since June 12 (fires larger than two metres high by three metres wide).

However, each municipality has its own regulations around starting fires, so Davidoff reminds the public to have a good understanding of the burning bylaw that pertains to them.

City of Trail rules are simple, open burning is prohibited year-round.

As well, Fruitvale’s bylaw prohibits open burning at any time during the year, with the exception of “intermittent campfires or ceremonial fires … if done safely and in a contained area.”

With a permit from the village office, small campfires (0.5 metre by 0.5 metre) are allowed in Warfield from May 1 to Oct. 31.

Notably, property owners in regional Area A and Area B are governed, year-round, by Southeast Fire Centre policies.

But, it’s important to note, that if the centre does issue a prohibition of any kind, including campfires, then municipalities, like Warfield, must abide by that restriction.

Since the season began April 1, there’s been 443 wildfires in British Columbia, 70 of those in the Southeast Fire Centre. Of the reported 11,000+ hectares burned across the province to date, 114 hectares were in the southeast district.

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