A helitack waterbucket is lowered for the day in Burns Lake on Aug. 1

A helitack waterbucket is lowered for the day in Burns Lake on Aug. 1

Open fire ban in effect now

Wildfires flare up around Burns Lake; Northwest Fire Centre urges caution

The long, hot dry-spell may be catching up to us in the form of lightening strike caused wildfires.

On Aug. 1, the Northwest Fire Centre (NWFC) responded to three fires on the north side of Francois Lake. Smoke from one of the fires was visible from Burns Lake, as was the early evening activity of a four-prop water bomber and a helicopter operated water-bucket.

“The largest of these new fires is 4.6 hectares in size, and is located on the north side of Francois Lake west of the ferry crossing,” said Suzanne Pearce, information officer for the NWFC. “Heavy equipment and a helicopter will be supporting 13 firefighters, working to contain the fire. A second fire in the same region is approximately two hectares in size. 13 firefighters, along with heavy equipment and a helicopter are working to contain this fire. An additional 20 firefighters are en route this morning to assist with these two fires. Ground crews working on these fires were supported by air tankers last evening.”

The NWFC expects to be busy dealing with more area wildfires triggered by lightening strikes.

With the fire danger rating listed at high to extreme throughout the Northwest fire zone, the province has issued an ‘open-fire ban’.

Effective as of noon, Aug. 2, 2013 and until further notice, all open fires are prohibited within the Northwest Fire Centre’s jurisdiction to help prevent human-caused wildfires.

Specifically, prohibited activities include burning any waste, slash or other materials; stubble or grass fires of any size over any area; the use of fireworks or burning barrels of any size or description; the use of tiki torches.

The prohibition does not restrict campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, and does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes. Anyone lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from the campfire area and must have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire.

Tickets, large fines, jail time, and court orders to pay all fire fighting and associated costs can follow your refusal to abide by the fire ban.