After all the recent hot and dry weather, there is an extreme fire danger warning in the Southeast Fire Centre area which includes Grand Forks and the Kootenay Boundary.
There were three lightning-caused fires in the Grand Forks area which started up on Monday. All have been contained.
“When lightning strikes happen it’s very easy for a fire to start,” said Jordan Turner, communications specialist for the Southeast Fire Centre.
One fire is 1.3 kilometres east of Highway 3 near Fishermen Creek; one is just off Eholt Road; and one is near Winfall Creek, three kilometers west of Boundary Creek Road.
“They’re all spot fires (less than a hectare),” said Turner. “We’ve got our crews on them so they’re not threatening any structures or communities. Our crews are making sure they don’t spread because of how dry it is.”
Turner said the fire centre is monitoring throughout the area looking for any other signs of wildfires.
“We have fixed-wing aircraft flying over the area through Boundary looking for fires that haven’t been reported by the community but that might be in more remote locations,” said Turner, who added that most fires are reported by people driving down the road or from their houses. “We’re making sure we spot any fires before they get out of hand and they build up in these really dry conditions.”
Turner said they have crews on hand because of the fires they are expected to start up because of the lightning storms moving through the region.
“We also have ground patrols working today (Monday) looking any smoke on the hills,” he said.
Turner said there has been 41 fires in the Southeast Fire Centre region so far this year with 12 being lightning caused and the other 29 person-caused. That number is very close to last year’s total of 42 fires by July 14, 2013 including 25 person-caused and 17 lightning-caused.
This year is a little above the five year average which is 36 by this time (25 person and 11 lightning-caused)
Turner expects that more fires will start up with the hot and dry weather.
“We are expecting hot weather,” he said. “I know there has been some rain, but we expect it to be very dry over these next few days. Considering we’ve had a few industry and person-caused fires in the last few weeks, we hope people will help us out and let us concentrate of these naturally occurring fires. We urge everyone to be very, very careful out in the woods.”
Jane Pring, emergency social services director, urges residents to be prepared in case of a fire or other emergency.
“With fire season at high, residents should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice should the need arise,” she said. “A get away bag should be available to grab and run in the event an evacuation order is issued.”
Pring said the bag should contain any medications the family needs, important papers, and a complete change of clothes. She also urges that household pets should be easily available to take.