On Saturday, March 30 a fire burns around 250 hectares along Kamloops-Shuswap road on the hill below Niskonlith Lake. (Rick Koch Photo)

On Saturday, March 30 a fire burns around 250 hectares along Kamloops-Shuswap road on the hill below Niskonlith Lake. (Rick Koch Photo)

BC Wildfire believes grass fires near Chase were human-caused

Firefighters making progress on 100- and 250-hectare blazes near Chase

One of the grass fires near Chase is being held by a small team of firefighters as dry valley bottoms make the area susceptible to fire.

According to Fire Information Officer Jody Lucius, the fires which ignited sometime on March 30 and burned through the following day are believed to have been human-caused.

Read More: Video of large grass fires near Chase

Read More: Firefighters douse grassfire in Kamloops

Lucius said the 100-hectare river flats fire is being held by crews, meaning they do not anticipate further growth. The other fire, which is approximately 250 hectares in size, is still listed as out of control but Lucius said crews are making good progress on it and mopping up hot spots.

Six firefighters were working on the blaze Sunday and three remained on scene today. When fires ignite this early in the season, the Wildfire Service has fewer resources to throw at them than they do in the more fire-prone months. Lucius said the first wildfire crews return to work starting in early March and the number of firefighters available continues to build through April and May as the fire season ramps up.

“The valley bottoms are quite dry right now and, with the warmer weather that we’ve had, combined with the blue skies and that sun coming out, we are seeing some increased fire behaviour in those areas than we might expect in a wetter spring,” Lucius said.

“Certainly that’s something that anyone who is conducting open burning or maybe having a campfire should keep in mind as certainly those conditions are there for fires.”

Read More: Grass fire near Vernon ‘well under control’

Read More: ‘I think we should all carry around fire extinguishers,’ says Okanagan woman

Lucius encouraged anyone who is worried about fire danger on their property to look into the Fire Smart program at www.firesmartbc.ca. The program recommends measures including thinning out the vegetation on people’s property and creating emergency plans at the individual property and neighbourhood levels.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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