Some Open Fires to be Allowed Within Columbia and Southeast Fire Zone

CASTLEGAR – Effective at noon Pacific time on Sept. 30, 2017, Category 2 fires will once again be permitted within the Columbia Fire Zone in the Southeast Fire Centre due to a decreased risk of wildfire in that region.

A map of the affected area is available online at: http://ow.ly/3yBj30fvlO7

However, the Category 2 open burning prohibition will remain in effect for the Boundary, Arrow, Kootenay Lake, Invermere and Cranbrook fire zones, since those areas have not received as much rainfall.

Larger Category 3 open fires remain prohibited throughout the Southeast Fire Centre. A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online at: http://ow.ly/jdO5301kS32

The BC Wildfire Service is urging the public to use caution and remain vigilant with any fire use. In British Columbia, the Wildfire Act specifies a person’s legal obligations when using open fire on or within one kilometre of forested land or grasslands.

People should take the following precautions with any outdoor burning activities:

* Ensure that enough people, water and tools are on hand to control the fire and to prevent it from escaping.

* Do not burn in windy conditions. The weather can change quickly and wind may carry embers to other combustible material and start new fires.

* Create a fireguard around the planned fire site by clearing away twigs, grass, leaves and other combustible material.

* Never leave a fire unattended.

* Make sure that your fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before you leave the area for any length of time.

Local governments may still have their own burning restrictions in place, so people should always check with local authorities before lighting any fire of any size.

Anyone planning to conduct an open burn (where allowed) should always check the local venting conditions first. If conditions are rated “poor” or “fair,” open burning is restricted. The venting index can be found online at: http://ow.ly/8ytY30fwvyC

The Southeast Fire Centre encompasses the area extending from the United States border in the south to Mica Dam in the north, and from the Okanagan Highlands or Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east. The Southeast Fire Centre includes the Selkirk Natural Resource District and the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire 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, go to: http://www.bcwildfire.ca

You can also follow the latest wildfire news on:

* Twitter at http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo

* Facebook at http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo

Anti-Doping Fundraiser – Mexico Earthquake – Sept 30, Gray Creek Hall

Come to the Gray Creek Hall on Saturday September 30th for a benefit concert by Mexican reggae band Anti-Doping! Proceeds going towards those impacted in the terrible earthquake in Mexico in September. Doors open at 9 p.m. Suggested minimum donation is $10.

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.

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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.