Smokescreen blocking the sun is not local

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
August 5th, 2010

 If you are getting smoke in your eyes, chances are that it’s from fires raging as far away as the Cariboo. While the Boundary has seen quite a bit of smoke over the past weekend, there are actually only two small fires in the region. Some of the smoke may be wafting up from Washington State, but the majority seems to be coming from the north.

  “The smoke’s a result of the fires that are going on currently in the Cariboo and Kamloops area,” said Erin Catherall, information officer for the South East Fire Centre based in Castlegar. “We’ve had a north wind that’s allowed it to drift over the south east. They have over 400 fires now that they’re fighting so there’s a significant amount of smoke that’s resulting from them.”   Catherall said that there are no fires of note in the Boundary and only one in the West Kootenays. In fact the total fires for the year are at least half of the number they experienced last year despite the number of lightening storms in the last week.   “There are currently two very small fires in the Boundary District, both are caused by lightening,” said Catherall. “They are both in initial attack status right now.”   The two fires in the West Boundary are located near Mount Baldy ridge and the second in the Tuzo Creek area at Cranberry Ridge. Fire ratings across the Boundary are a mix of moderate to high risk. In the Kootenays the fire ratings range from moderate to extremely high. Campfires are restricted in size to below .5 metres in width and height, and campers must have a shovel of a minimum of eight litres of water on hand at all times.   Since April 1 the South East Fire area has responded to 153 fires: 43 person-caused and 110 lightening-caused. Last year at this time there had been 338 fires to date, 256 of which were lightening-caused and 72 person-caused.   “We’re actually one of the slowest fire centres in the province right now,” explained Catherall.   Almost half of all fires in B.C. are reported by the public. If you see smoke or flames call: 1-800-663-5555 or dial *5555 on your cell phone. Further information about fires of note as well as campfire bans can be found on the website: www.bcwildfire.ca.

Categories: General