Members of the Elko and Baynes Lake Fire Departments responded to a grass fire in the Elko area this afternoon, preventing what could have been a much more serious situation.
“A contractor was burning slash piles in an area where burning is currently permitted. Although he had taken safety precautions and had equipment on site, the fire got away in the windy conditions,” says Elk Valley & South Country Rural Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Michael Hockley. “When we arrived on scene, the fire had spread into the grass and was quickly growing. Our firefighters did a good job of containing the grass fire in and around the highway. We were very lucky it wasn’t worse.”
A total of six firefighters along with a water tender from Baynes Lake and an engine from Elko responded to the call and were assisted by the contractor. RCMP and Natural Resource Officers in the area also attended; however, the fire department was able to contain the blaze before the BC Wildfire Service had to be dispatched.
“We recognize there are people in zones where burning is still permitted trying to get spring burning done before next week when Province-wide restrictions come into effect; however, today is a good reminder of the importance of ensuring the burning conditions are safe,” stresses Hockley. “Anyone doing spring burning must make sure they are taking steps to be prepared by having a water source, shovel or tools, burning when it’s not windy and staying on site monitoring the fire until it is completely out.”
A province wide ban on category 2 and 3 open fires, fireworks and burn barrels comes into effect on April 16th.