A fire sends big orange plumes of smoke into the sky near Nelson.

A fire sends big orange plumes of smoke into the sky near Nelson.

Lightning sparks wildfires in Revelstoke area

Several small wildfires were sparked by lightning in the Revelstoke area last week

Several small wildfires were sparked by lightning in the Revelstoke area last week, however the community has so far been spared the large blazes impacting other parts of the Southeast Fire Centre.

The BC Wildfire Service listed two forest fires near Revelstoke — a 0.5 hectare fire in the East Twin Creek area east of town, and a 0.3 hectare fire near Greenbush Lake southwest of town.

Other small fires had started near Revelstoke in recent days – near the Downie Arm on the western shore of Lake Revelstoke, near Wap Creek south of Three Valley Gap, and in the Selkirk Mountains south of Glacier National Park – however those were the only two still listed as active Monday morning.

The fire danger rating was a mix of high and extreme around Revelstoke, mirroring the situation in most of B.C.

Steve Thomson, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, announced a campfire ban for almost the entire province on Friday, July 3. It remains in place until further notice.

There were more than 170 fire burning across the province on Monday, including 18 of note.

In the Southeast Fire Centre, there were three wildfires of note, including one near Nelson sending huge flames into the sky that were visible from town.

The 300-hectare Duhamel Creek fire has resulted in an evacuation alert for homes in the area and a full response involving helicopters and air tankers. It expanded rapidly over the weekend, doubling in size on Sunday.

Homes were also evacuated near Spillimacheen, between Golden and Radium, as the result of a 54-hectare wildfire.

The wildfire danger is expected to remain high throughout the week, with hot and dry weather forecast through Friday. The long-range forecast showed some rain is expected on the weekend.

The City of Revelstoke enacted its own campfire ban on Friday.

The prohibition includes all campfires, burning of waste or other material, stubble or grass fires, the use of fireworks, sky lanterns, tiki torches, burning barrels and burning cages; the use of exploding targets, and the use of force air burning systems.

The ban is in place until further notice. Violations can result in a $345 ticket, and if charges are pursued, the penalty is up to a $100,000 fine or one year in jail.

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

With files from the Nelson Star