Fire threat heats up with forecast

Thunderstorms sparked 78 wildfires throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre over the weekend, but only four spot-sized fires in the Vernon area

Thunderstorms sparked 78 wildfires throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre over the weekend, but only four spot-sized fires in the Vernon area.

The four lightning-caused fires, which are all extinguished, were: north of Sugar Lake, near Vigue Creek (in the Monashees), at Hidden Lake and near the Hartnell Forest Service Road.

Relative humidity throughout the district has helped crews contain the fires, but there is concern with the hot forecast this week (30 to 32 through Monday with no precipitation).

“We’re returning to those hot and dry temperatures, which for us is concerning because of all the lightning we’ve had,” said Michaela Swan, fire information officer.

Lightning can spark fires which can hold over underground, in the roots and other sources, for up to three weeks.

Along with air patrols, the fire centre relies on reporting to help identify fires in the region.

“The number of phone reports received from the public allowed us to respond to these fires fast and efficiently, and we thank all those that took the time to notify us of fire starts,” said Swan.

With the threat of lightning-caused fires popping up, the campfire ban will remain in effect to ensure resources are allocated to naturally-occurring wildfires.

“At this point we will not be rescinding the campfire bans,” said Swan.

Despite a few campers not getting the message, most campers have also been respectful of the ban over the long weekend.

“The fire wardens were reporting very high compliance,” said Swan, noting that many people are using propane-fueled fires while outdoors.

To report a wildfire or prohibited campfire, call *5555 on your cellular phone or toll-free at 1-800 663-5555.