Wildfire risk rises with temperatures

This has been one of the slowest fire seasons in B.C.’s history but fire crews aren’t sitting back on their heels.

This has been one of the slowest fire seasons in B.C.’s history but fire crews aren’t sitting back on their heels.

Only 330 wildfires have gone through the province, 51 through the southeast area that includes Greater Trail. That low number can be attributed to fewer lightning strikes followed by rain, said Karlie Shaughnessy, Southeast fire information officer.

“We have had a significant number of storms come through the area but I was doing comparisons to other years and it’s just we don’t have those lightning starts.

“I suspect it’s because those storms have been followed by enough precipitation to put a damper on any starts that do happen.”

There were two wildfires in the southeast region recently; one at Lomond Lake, just west of the Nelway border crossing, which was extinguished on the weekend and another by Cranbrook’s Mount Fisher, both caused by lightning.

The Cranbrook Daily Townsman is reporting the Mount Fisher fire started on Sunday morning and although small, is proving difficult to combat because of its high altitude.

Of the 51 fires in the area only 20 of those have been caused by lightning, compared to 136 lightning caused fires last year out of a total of 179 fires.

But with temperatures frequently climbing into the high 20s and low 30s, fire crews are keeping a close eye on the area’s fire risk rating that is currently listed at moderate-to-high.

The local fire department is putting together sprinkler trailers that will help fight wildfires and are awaiting the finalization of the areas Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

“That will provide some direction for our elected officials to look at what further actions we could take in regards to fuel management, public education, those sort of things,” Deputy Fire Chief Dan Derby explained.

He added that because of the cooler temperatures and wet weather things are still pretty green up in the mountains but if the current weather keeps up that could change.

“If that continues for another week or two, there could be concern at that time.”

People in the area also have a good awareness about fire and what to do about it, he said.

An open fire ban is still in effect for the southeast area but campfires of a certain size are permitted.