August 02, 2013 - 4:43 PM
KAMLOOPS - Stormy weather may feel like relief with hot and dry weather partly to blame for multiple wildfires ignited in recent weeks — but the lightning that came with it may have made the situation worse.
B.C. Wildfire Information Officer Michaela Swan says fire crews have been working around the clock to keep up with spot fires sparked in the Kamloops Fire Centre region overnight.
"We have responded to over 20 fires locally in less than 24 hours," Swan says.
The closest fire to Kamloops was a .3 hectare blaze in the Ashcroft area.
"That fire is contained," Swan says.
Hundreds of lightning strikes were detected last night in the region and most were accompanied by precipitation.
While precipitation has helped in some cases, Swan says crews already have their hands full without the added concern of person-caused fires, so a campfire ban put in place this week will remain in effect until further notice.
The ban applies to open fires of any size, fires with a burn registration number, industrial burning, fireworks, tiki torches, sky lanterns and burning barrels. The prohibition doesn't apply to gas cooking stoves, propane or briquettes, or portable campfires with a CSA or ULC rating that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel — just keep the flame less than 15 centimetres.
Those found violating the ban could face a $345 fine, and for those who start a fire — the bill could be a lot steeper and possibly lead to jail-time.
Swan adds that the area is still deemed at high risk on the wildfire danger rating scale. Wildfire Management Branch crews, as well as reconnaissance aircraft, are continuing to monitor the areas for further wildfires as a result of the lightning.
To report a wildfire or prohibited campfire, dial 1-800-663-5555 or *555 on a cell phone. For the latest on wildfire activity visit the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch online.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013