Sunday update: dozens of new fires discovered yesterday in West, East Kootenay

Weather front moving through area sparks fires including in Syringa Provincial Park and Valhalla.

A weather system that moved through the southern part of the province Saturday sparked dozens of fires in the Southeast Fire Centre region.

Fire officials say 63 new fires were discovered yesterday, mostly sparked by lightning striking the area’s tinder-dry forests.

Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Arrow Lakes – Slocan Lake on Saturday afternoon. While some rain fell in some areas, there was no significant precipitation in the southern part of the Fire Centre— and there was plenty of strong wind gusts, thunder and lightning.

While temperatures are slightly lower Sunday morning than in recent days, the forest remains a dangerous place for fires.

“The current fire danger rating for the Southeast Fire Centre is predominately ‘extreme’, with sections of ‘high’ and pockets of ‘moderate’ across the north and northwest portion of our region,” said Fire Communication Officer Ashley Davidoff. The northern part of the SEFC saw more rainfall associated with the weather system, she said.

In total there are 158 active fires in the region.

Heavy smoke has blanketed communities in the West Kootenay, both from local fires and blown in from other areas.

Among the fires currently burning in the area:

Rossland area:

Three to the southwest (Big Sheep Creek, Iron Creek)

Two west (Iron Creek #1, South of Old Glory)

Old Glory Mountain

Mud Lake

Castlegar area:

Syringa Creek Provincial Park

Two at Deer Park Forest Service Road

Three south of Renata

Moberly Creek, west of Castlegar

Valhalla Provincial Park area:

Gimly Trailhead

Sandy Creek

Slocan Lake, north of the park

Other areas:

Three at Big Sister Mountain

Burton, Scalping Knife

Four fires north of Grand Forks

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories visit bcwildfire.ca.

Area Restriction put in place

An area restriction has been put in place for the Blacktail Mountain wildfire in Kokanee Glacier Park, about eight kilometres southeast of Silverton. This area restriction applies to the entire Silverton Creek drainage, including Idaho Peak.

A detailed map of this closure is available online.

A second area restriction was put in place for the Goldstream River wildfire located about 70 kilometres northwest of Revelstoke and about 5.5 kilometres east of Highway 23. This area restriction applies to the entire Groundhog Basin, immediately north of the French Forest Service Road and extending north to Old Camp Creek. A detailed map of this closure is available online.

Under these orders and Section 11(2) of the Wildfire Act, a person must not remain in or enter these restricted areas, unless the person first receives written authorization of an official designated for the purposes of the Wildfire Act, or enters the area only in the course of:

* travelling to or from his or her residence, that is not under an evacuation order;

* using a highway as defined in the Transportation Act;

* travelling as a person acting in an official capacity as defined in Section 56 of the Wildfire Act; or

* travelling for the purpose of supporting wildfire suppression or enforcement patrol activities.

Highway 3 closure

People driving on Highway 3 should be prepared for some delays, depending on wildfire activity.

On Saturday, Highway 3 was closed for several hours due to wildfire activity at the Blazed Creek Fire.

Later in the day the closure was changed to a travel advisory from the junction with Highway 6 to the junction with Highway 21.

Check the DriveBC website for more information.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories visit bcwildfire.ca.

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