Arrow and Columbia zones are alive with fires

Recurring thunderstorms have kept crews in the Southeast Fire Centre’s Columbia and Arrow zones busy with a significant number of new fires. Crews in the two zones have responded to 88 new fires in the past week; 85 of those were caused by lightning, says a spokeswoman for the Centre.

Gwen Eamer said in a statement that the Beaton-Incomappleux fire, located at the north end of Beaton Arm, is currently estimated at 200 hectares.  Fire management specialists continue to observe the fire, and have plans in place to limit the fire’s southward growth toward the valley bottom.

The 60-hectare Big Mouth fire, located 23 kilometres south of the Mica Dam, is burning in a remote area. Also in rugged terrain, the Mulvehill Creek fire 13 kilometres south of Revelstoke is estimated at 53 hectares.

Meanwhilem, crews at the Galena Bay fire north of Nakusp continue to extend and strengthen containment lines on the south and west flanks. The fire is currently estimated at 2,000 hectares, or 20 square kilometres in size, Eamer said.

There are 32 active fires in the Columbia zone, most located in remote areas south of Kinbasket Lake and east of Revelstoke. Fourteen fires are active in the Arrow zone. Most of these fires are burning in remote areas and are not affecting communities.

The four-hectare Whatshan Lake fire, burning 20 km north of Needles, was first reported Aug. 4. Airtankers responded immediately, surrounding the burning area with fire retardant. Today, six Initial Attack crew members worked with five contract firefighters to contain the fire.

Several larger fires in the area are in Modified Response. This type of response recognises that fire is a natural component of the ecosystem and that it has regenerative properties for affected terrain. Fire management specialists determine the values affected by the fire before determining fire management strategies.

Campfires remain prohibited across most of the province due to the widespread extreme fire situation. Fire officials have issued 39 tickets for campfire and fireworks violations in the Southeast Fire Centre since the ban came into place. The fine for failing to comply with fire restrictions is $345.