June 14, 2019 7:52 pm

24 new fires burning in Southern Interior, B.C. Wildfire Service says

More than 20 fires are burning in B.C.’s southern Interior following a thunderstorm that rolled across the region on Thursday. All of the fires, as of Friday afternoon, were listed as being small in size.

B.C. Wildfire Service
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Several small fires are now burning in B.C.’s Southern Interior after lightning raked the region on Thursday.

According to the B.C. Wildfire Service (BCWS), 10 new fires are burning in the Kamloops Fire Centre, while another 14 are burning in the Southeast Fire Centre.

All told, that’s 24 new fires in the past 24 hours in those two regions.

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Across the province, there are 49 fires, including 27 new ones in the last two days.

As of Friday afternoon, all the new Southern Interior fires were small in size, most listed at 0.01 hectares, though one fire well north of Kamloops was listed at 0.4 hectares.

In the Kamloops Fire Centre, two of the 10 fires were located just east of Kamloops, though both were quickly contained on Thursday. Despite being managed, they were still listed as being new fires.

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“We have 16 fires in the Kamloops Fire Centre,” said fire information officer Nicole Bonnett, adding some fires have been contained. “But in the last 12 to 24 hours, we’ve had eight lightning fires and two in the South Okanagan that are suspected to be human caused.”

One of those human-caused fires was a vehicle fire.

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Bonnett added that the number of fires has been fluctuating lately, as the thunderstorm that rolled across the region also brought precipitation. That rain helped dampen some fires, though BCWS expects some flareups could occur, with hot weather baking the area.

“In some areas, fires were reported. And when we sent out ground crews or [aerial surveillance] in the general area, they weren’t able to see any fire activity or any smoke at the time,” said Bonnett.

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That said, BCWS expects in the next 24 to 36 hours that when things dry out, there could be flareups, with smoke appearing where a fire was first reported but wasn’t first seen.

Another three were well northeast of Kamloops, with two north of Salmon Arm. Two were in the South Okanagan, with one northwest of Oliver and another well west of Osoyoos.

In the Southeast Fire Centre, 12 of the 14 fires are in the lower half of the region. Two are near Rossland and Castlegar, with a cluster of four east and northeast of Nelson. Another three are near Kootenay Lake.

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In the northern part of the Southeast region, one is north of Revelstoke, while another is well north of Revelstoke.

BCWS added that if you do see a fire, report it by calling 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on cellphones.

“As much information as possible is always better, and we always appreciate the reports,” said Bonnett. “It does help us respond more effectively.”

Bonnett also said that if you decide to respond to a wildfire on your own, “please do so in a safe manner. And if what they’re doing is going to put themselves at risk or in harm’s way, to just wait for professional firefighters to come out, because we don’t want anybody to be getting hurt.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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