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Castlegar/Trail area wildfire update for Friday, July 14

Photo courtesy of BC Wildfire Management Branch

Southeast Fire Centre is reporting two fire starts in the Castlegar area yesterday (Thursday) and none in the Trail area yesterday, with a total of 17 fires burning in the Southeast Region right now, according to Fire Information Officer Karlie Shaughnessy.

(Both Castlegar Fire Chief Sam Lattanzio and Kootenay Boundary Fire Rescue Chief Dan Derby are reporting no fires within, or threatening city boundaries, at this time).

The two fire starts near Castlegar were reported in the early afternoon, the first at about five km north of Robson, near Rialto, measuring 0.025 hectares. Air tankers responded, and they currently have one initial attack crew working on mop up.

“It’s looking good today, there was no growth overnight,” Shaughnessy said, adding this fire was lightning caused.

The other fire is near Cai Creek (near the Bombi Summit east of Hwy 3) and is measured at 0.2 hectares. One initial attack crew as well as five contractors (for a total of eight personnel) are mopping up this blaze, which is considered “held”, meaning, “sufficient suppression action has been taken and it is not expected to grow beyond its boundaries”. The cause of this fire is still under investigation.

Meanwhile, there are also two small fires up the Arrow Lake, the first being a lightning-caused blaze 12 km northwest of Renata in the Bowman Creek area.

“This one was discovered July 13 and is 0.003 hectares,” she said. “It’s 100 per cent contained, but still in mop-up and monitoring stages.”

The second, nine km northwest of Renata near Renata Creek, was discovered yesterday and is an estimated 0.1 hectare.

“There’s no word as yet as to containment, but it’s not threatening any people or structures.”

Meanwhile, the fire in the Pend Oreille near Trail (reported July 10) grew to roughly two hectares in size but is 100 per cent contained. This fire was human-caused.

To compare this to the 2015 season that created so much panic locally: this season, the Southeast Fire Centre has seen 103 fires burn 114 hectares, while by this date in 2015, 265 fires burned 1,244 hectares.

“The average in our region is about 30-per-cent human-caused and 70-per-cent lightning-caused, compared to the provincial ratio of roughly 40/60 human-lightning-caused.

As for weather, this weekend should see slightly cooler temperatures as a result of a cold front coming down from the central part of the province – but that will be mitigated by the increased chance of dry lightning throughout the area, increased winds gusting up to 45 km/hour and no forecast of precipitation.

All fires remain banned within the region.

To report a wildfire or irresponsible behaviour call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 from a cell phone.