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RDEK urges caution while spring burning

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) is asking residents to use caution if they plan to do any spring burning this year.

“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,” said Jim Miller, Columbia Valley Rural Fire and Rescue Chief.

The RDEK said early-season grass fires are not uncommon, as many people underestimate the burning conditions.

“People assume that because the snow has just melted, things will be wet and the fire danger rating is low; however, the fine fuels that were dead and dried up before winter quickly dry out in the spring sun and with no new, lush green grass coming in yet, can burn very quickly,” said Dave Boreen, Elk Valley and South Country Rural Fire & Rescue Chief.

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Residents are asked to check with the Southeast Fire Centre or visit the BC Wildfire website to check if there are any active restrictions or if burns need to be registered.

Burning grass or small brush fires is often one of the first things people do to kick start spring clean-up in rural areas.

“Our message is to make sure to follow the safety precautions every time, no matter what time of year you are burning,” said Boreen and Miller.

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