By Amara JanssensMild and rainy weather has reversed the ban on campfires and open fires issued by the Northwest Fire Centre.
As of 4 p.m. today, burning is allowed in much of the fire centre’s jurisdiction. However, campfires must not exceed half a metre in height and width.
Open fires that exceed two metres in height, and three metres in width, as well as grass more than 2000 square metres, also known as Category 3 fires are now allowed, so long a burn permit is issued.
Although the fire rating is no longer extreme, the fire centre still urges appropriate fire extinguishing materials remain near burn piles, such as a hose.
The news comes after the northwest region and Smithers was hit by a severe thunderstorm last night.
The intense storm, which saw frequent lightning activity for more than an hour rolled over town between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m. last night and sparked eight new fires.
According to Suzanne Pearce, fire information officer for the Northwest Fire Centre, all eight fires were less than a hectare in size with the closest fire to Smithers igniting a plot of land near Toboggan Creek.
But most of the fires were along the Highway 16 corridor, with one north of Moricetown, two near Kitwanga, and two north of Kitwanga.
The fire centre credits the public for their ability to respond quickly to these fires, as Pearce said most of the fires were called in immediately.
When the calls were received, the fire centre responded with fire bombers as well as ground crews who quickly contained the blazes.
As of this morning, all of the fires were contained and extinguished. But due to the large amount of smoke, the fire sites continued to be monitored by aircraft.