Residents are urged to use caution when burning. Photo: Crescent Valley Fire Department

Residents are urged to use caution when burning. Photo: Crescent Valley Fire Department

String of wildland fires has West Kootenay fire chiefs urging caution

There have been a number of rural wildland fires across the region recently

Fire departments across the West Kootenay have been responding to more fires than usual, many of them originating from burn piles or grass fires in rural areas that have spread out of control.

A shortage of spring rain has led to dry conditions throughout the region and local fire chiefs and the Southeast Fire Centre are asking residents and industry to use caution when deciding to burn.

Ootischenia Fire Chief Len Coates says some of the problem comes from afternoon winds that suddenly increase or change direction, leaving property owners scrambling to keep a fire under control. Another problem is people who just aren’t prepared with the right tools or who haven’t checked the weather forecast before burning.

Fire departments in Pass Creek, Robson, Crescent Valley, Castlegar, Beasley and Ootischenia have all been called to wildland fires in recent weeks.

The Castlegar department was called to a fire that illustrates that burning slash piles on your property isn’t as simple as it sounds.

The fire was at an industrial site on the edge of town. The property owners had burned a slash pile there and extinguished it (or so they thought) a month prior. Strong winds stirred up embers that had been smoldering underground that whole time and the fire quickly spread to almost one hectare in size.

Castlegar called in the Ootischenia Fire Department to help with hauling water since there were no fire hydrants nearby. BC Wildfire crews also responded.

Chief Sam Lattanzio said it took 4000 gallons of water to extinguish the blaze.

The Crescent Valley Fire Department (CVFD) recently responded to a fire in Krestova that was a close call.

“We were very lucky that the fire was near the only road in the area we could get our fire engine down, and we were able to get water on it just as the strong wind pushed it down a rock outcrop to the edge of a large forested area,” said a CVFD spokesperson on social media.

“A few minutes later and it could have resulted in a significant forest fire.”

The fire was likely caused by a small campfire that was started earlier in the day and not properly extinguished.

The Southeast Fire Centre (SEFC) issued a public notice on April 20 encouraging everyone to use caution when burning.

As the temperature increases, the grass cures and dries, making it extremely flammable, especially in windy conditions, warned SEFC.

They also issued the following guidelines:

• Never burn in windy conditions. Weather conditions can change quickly, and the wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires.

• Ensure that adequate resources are on hand to control the fire and stop it from spreading.

• Create an appropriately sized fireguard around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material, right down to the mineral soil.

• Never leave a fire unattended.

• Make sure that any fire is completely extinguished, and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.

Any fire over the size of two metres by three metres must be registered.

READ MORE: Band of beavers chew through B.C. town’s fibre cable, cutting off internet connection

READ MORE: RCMP still investigating 2019 death of Slocan Valley man

B.C. Wildfires 2021Central Kootenay Regional District

 

West Kootenay Fire Departments have been busy lately. Photo: Crescent Valley Fire Department

Fire regulations poster.

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Trees blown over by a windstorm in forest owned by Anderson Creek Timber. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

Keith Smyth, Kootenay Savings director at-large joins children from the Kids’ Care Centre at St. Michael’s Catholic School. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay Savings continues credit union’s tradition of giving

Funding totalling $48,250, is going to a wide array of Kootenay initiatives

From left: Karl Luedtke (West Arm Outdoors Club), Dale Williams (BCWF), Molly Teather (FLNORD), Gord Grunerud (West Arm Outdoors Club), Eugene Volokhov (Grand Prize Winner), Casey McKinnon and Lex Jones (Jones Boys Boats). Photo: Tammy White, Whitelight Photography
Balfour man lands big prize from angler incentive program

Eugene Volokhov of Balfour is now the proud owner of a sleek 18-foot Kingfisher boat

“I want to see the difference in the world, embrace it, celebrate it … ” Photo: David Cantelli/Unsplash
A new way to say ‘Hello’

“Inclusion, you see, is NOT about making us all the same.”

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read