Columbia Valley Pioneer staff

They’ve said it many times, but they’ll say it again: use extreme caution when burning outdoors.

That’s what the Columbia Valley Rural Fire & Rescue Service is urging residents during these dry conditions. 

The warning comes after another grass fire escaped, this time in the community of Columere Park on Thursday.  

“When we arrived on scene, we found a resident had been burning brush when the fire quickly escaped its initial perimeter, igniting the fine grassy fuels surrounding it,” said Assistant Chief Joss Advocaat. “The fire came dangerously close to a heavy timber stand, and had it not been for the outstanding efforts of our firefighters, this could have been a much more serious incident.” 

A Fairmont crew responded and were able to contain and fully extinguish the fire before it got into the trees.
“I really want to emphasize how dry the conditions are in our province and particularly in the Columbia Valley. We have received a small amount of rain this week, however, it is not enough to make a significant impact on the drought conditions we are experiencing. The fuels on the landscape are very susceptible to fire right now,” Advocaat explained.

He noted the region is currently in the midst of what is known as the “spring dip” when fine fuels and trees have low moisture content.  As a result, they are tinder dry.

Advocaat urges residents to consider other alternatives to burning, such as utilizing the RDEK’s East Kootenay FireSmart neighbourhood bin programs, chipping events, or green waste disposal depots in the area.