Campfire Ban Lifted

Effective at 1:00 pm MST on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, campfires will once again be allowed throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre, Southeast Fire Centre and Cariboo Fire Centre.

A return to more seasonal weather conditions and recent precipitation has reduced the wildfire risk in these areas.

The BC Wildfire Service reminds the public that Category 2 and Category 3 open fires, which are fires larger than 0.5 metres by 0.5 metres, remain prohibited in these three fire centres. A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online at: http://ow.ly/znny309kJv5

The use of sky lanterns, binary exploding targets, air curtain burners, fireworks (including firecrackers) and burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description remain prohibited throughout the Southeast Fire Centre.

People wishing to light a campfire must have ready access to eight litres of water or a shovel during the entire time the campfire is lit. They also must completely extinguish the campfire and the ashes must be cold to the touch before they leave the area for any length of time.

Open burning prohibitions apply to all BC Parks, Crown lands and private lands, but do not apply within the boundaries of a local government that has forest fire prevention bylaws and is serviced by a fire department. Always check with local authorities to see if any other burning restrictions are in place before lighting any fire.

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

Although the off-road vehicle prohibition in the Cariboo Fire Centre, Kamloops Fire Centre and Southeast Fire Centre was rescinded on Sept. 20, 2017, the public is reminded that area restrictions are in effect in the vicinity of some wildfires in these fire centres.

More information about current area restrictions and open burning prohibitions can be found online at: http://www.gov.bc.ca/wildfirebans

Off-Road Ban Lifted

Cooler weather and recent rain has reduced the flammability of fuels in the region, according to the provincial government.

There has been a significant reduction in the chance of a wildfire starting from a spark or hot engine.

The B.C. Wildfire Service is reminding the public that some local area restrictions are still in place.

These areas include Crown land near large wildfires in the Cariboo, Kamloops, Southeast Fire Centre so firefighting options can continue efficiently.

“The use of off-road vehicles will continue to be prohibited in the restricted areas around these wildfires,” states a media release.

People found in contravention of area restrictions can be issued a fine of $767.

For more information visit this link.

New Fire Reported in Crawford Bay – UPDATED

 

UPDATE: Sunday morning, Sept 17: Carlee Kachman of Southeast Fire Centre reports that the skimmers hit the fire yesterday for many hours and today 2 initial attack crews of 6 personnel and 1 helicopter are attending the fire. They are setting up hose ways around the perimeter and getting established. They are not anticipating any issues with containment. The fire is not threatening any structures. The cause of the fire is now “Under Investigation”. Check wildfire bc’s website for the most current up-to-date information and fire statuses – http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status

Sept 16, 2017 – Crawford Bay: On Saturday afternoon on Sept 16, 2017, residents reported a fire in the Crawford Bay – Preacher Creek area above the transfer station. Southeast Fire Centre is not taking any more phone calls to report this fire and are attending to it. It appears to be a few kilometres from structures and not posing an immediate risk; however, residents have expressed concern and hope that response is thorough and complete before any further growth is seen.

Residents should be reminded that back-country access for off-road vehicles is still prohibited and recreational or industrial access is discouraged as our forested areas are still tinder-dry despite cooling temperatures.

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca

You can also follow the latest wildfire news on:

Photos courtesy of Mautz (Uwe) Kroker.

British Columbia Fireball – Sept 4, 2017

According to the American Meteor Society (www.amsmeteors.org) on September 4, 2017 at about 10:14, our small region had exceptional front row seats to an amazing light and sound show not normally seen. They report that they received hundreds of reports of a fireball event seen above BC. It was primarily seen from BC but also seen from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Washington, Idaho and Montana.

Image result for meteor

According to their latest estimated trajectory, “The fireball travelled in a southeast to northwest direction, entering the atmosphere near Boswell and terminating near Meadow Creek.” It is astounding that despite that narrow trajectory, the sound and light were seen from thousands of kilometres around.

Hundreds of people took to social media to report their sightings and experiences. Videos, photos and excited experiences abound. https://alfred.camera/tv/Hy0V73iK-

 

Huge Thundering Noise and Flash of Light Seen by Many

At 10:15 on Sept 4, 2017, an enormous 30-second long thundering noise and flash of light was seen by many. At the time of writing, reports all along the East Shore and as far as Alberta were coming in on social media about the sound and light. We will soon see just how far these reports go… Videos, tweets, images and stories are coming in from all over BC and Alberta.

Speculations abound – meteor? Sonic boom? Jumbo jet? Watch for more details.

 

 

Tonight! Important Meeting Regarding CB Wetlands and Beach

Don’t miss the meeting tonight at 6pm at the CB Hall regarding Kokanee Springs land sale of the parcels connected to and including the CB wetlands and beach area.

See below for Garry Jackman’s article with pertinent information about this meeting…

Garry Jackman’s yet unedited article this month – pertains to tonight’s meeting, so please have a look…
 
RDCK Area A Update
CONTINUING ON OUTDOOR RECREATION
 
I want to provide more information on efforts to support outdoor activities based on amenities such as trails and beach/lake access points. As I noted last month, today there are 8 specific projects within Area A which connect to lakefront plus other projects to improve or extend trails. I will not repeat all of the detail as you can check my August submission for that information.
 
What I do want to cover this month is some of the mechanisms for identifying, planning and developing regional parks. First I want to provide a sense of how much taxation within the RDCK currently goes to support indoor and outdoor recreation. This needs to be viewed as a big picture when discussing regional sites which benefit locals plus visitors from our neighbouring communities or afar (tourists). The health, social and economic benefits of recreation will not be covered this month, neither will the conservation values of holding sensitive lands in the public realm or by partners with a conservation and stewardship mandate.
 
As you will usually hear me state during budget time, across the RDCK we have about 160 active services either supported individually or by groups of the 20 regional district partners (11 rural electoral areas plus 9 municipalities). Twenty five of these services are related to recreation. Why not combine some or all of them? That would be a big exercise and the topic does arise from time to time. Of the 25, three are localized recreation commissions (shared between a total of 6 partners) which do not fund buildings or capital but rather exist to support recreation programming, often through small grants to societies or clubs. Combined they requisitioned (through property tax) $91.5K in 2017, of which $35.4K was for Area A Rec 9.
 
There are 14 services which I would categorize as medium sized which support buildings (plus some outdoor rec) again in localized areas. These requisitioned $496.3K in 2017 but two of the services required no taxation, supporting their facilities with rents and grants. In addition, there are 4 services which support the larger recreation complexes; two services for the Castlegar and District complex which splits out the aquatic center as a separate service and one for each of the Creston and District and Nelson and District complexes. These services requisitioned almost $9.98 million dollars in 2017 to support both indoor and outdoor facilities. Note these facilities also have substantial revenues (rents and user fees) on top of the taxation. I worked up some charts on how these costs are distributed from community to community for the inevitable conversation around who benefits versus who pays. Overall I hope all residents of Area A can begin to understand what costs their neighbours down the highway currently face when we discuss regional park sites because we are definitely not all paying the same tax rates.
 
Looking at the big picture, so far this adds up to $10.56 million taxation within the RDCK focused on facilities and programs which are predominantly delivered within buildings or on groomed fields. In contrast the parks and trails services offer a less structured approach to recreation and access to nature. The RDCK has 4 regional parks services, some encompassing large areas with many partners and others like Area A which, for historic reasons, are stand alone. These services requisitioned $420.8K in taxation in 2017, with the Area A requisition being $28.5K. In the spring I recommended a $12.6K increase from the 2016 taxation of $15.9K in order to have funds on hand for consulting services and/or additional planning for Area A, since we now have 8 sites for lake access enhancement under consideration.
 
So that is my lead in to what RDCK parks planning staff do. The RDCK has operational and planning staff for parks. Our planner, who provided information at the August 23rd public meeting in Crawford bay, solicits public input on investing in parks development, uses consultants and/or in house resources to search titles (private land) and research possible other interest in the land (for example first nations interest in public land), create maps showing options, provide valuations, draft plans for usage of a site and report with recommendations to the RDCK board. Operational staff comment on whether local stewardship groups appear to be in place to minimize the level of operational costs on the taxpayer plus provide estimates for operational budgets if the land is to be fully managed by the RDCK. In the areas where there are several local government partners pooling their funds a ‘master plan’ approach is generally used so that public input on several sites can be received at the same time. The recent master planning processes around Nelson, Castlegar and South Slocan cost between $30K to $50K each and took one to two years to complete. I have been in discussion with potential local government service partners south of Area A around a joint master plan but the current opportunities in the Crawford bay area are prompting a closer look at this area in the short term.
 
Last month, I said I would provide more on cemetery services in September but that will need to wait for now. If you have questions or comments on any topic please drop a note to gjackman@rdck.bc.ca or call me at 250-223-8463.
Garry Jackman
RDCK Director Area A
Wynndel / East Shore Kootenay Lake