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Fire Danger Class Report for South East
The South East fire centre responds to 508 fires in typical year!

South East Fire Centre

SouthEast Fire Centre map

At the Southeast Fire Centre, forest officers, dispatchers and support staff coordinate fire suppression activity throughout the Nelson Forest Region. Located at the Castlegar airport, our main office is a centralized fire control dispatch hub for the entire southeast corner of British Columbia. This includes everything from the Okanagan Highlands/Monashee Mountains in the west and the Alberta border in the east to the Mica Dam in the north to the U.S. border in the south.

Southeast Fire Centre staff are located in six primary bases within the communities of Cranbrook, Invermere, Revelstoke, Castlegar, Nelson, and Grand Forks. In addition, there are seasonal facilities within the communities of Golden, Nakusp, Creston, and Rock Creek. This ensures that initial fire attack can occur promptly and efficiently.

Staff and fire fighting crews

The motto of our wildfire fighters is "Hit Hard and Hit Fast." Fire fighting crews are dispatched by the fire centre in Castlegar from crew bases throughout the Region.

A total of 19 three-person initial attack crews are located within the Region as follows:
Cranbrook 4 Grand Forks 2
Castlegar 2 Nelson 2
Invermere 2 Revelstoke 7

Two 20-person unit crews (Valhalla and Rocky Mountain) are strategically located in the communities of South Slocan and Cranbrook. These dedicated men and women are the brave and hard working staff who put the fires out. They work on the fire line to control and ultimately extinguish the fire.

The Southeast Fire Centre employs 32 field officers, six dispatchers and six administrative support personnel. They are supported by local volunteer fire wardens, up to 400 trained fire fighters employed by fireline service contractors, local heavy equipment owners, and numerous support personnel from the forest industry and the Forest Districts.

The Southeast Fire Centre responds to 508 fires in a typical year (this is calculated over a ten-year period). Although the severity of a fire season can never be predicted, the fire centre is always prepared in case of a change in fire activity.


Aerial Capabilities

The Southeast Fire Centre has three permanent facilities, called "tanker bases", for the staging, reloading, and refueling of fixed-wing air tankers. The permanent facilities are located in Castlegar, Cranbrook and Revelstoke. In addition, we have developed "forward air-tanker bases" which can be moved onto a suitable airstrip and be delivering fire retardant within 12 hours of request. These facilities can be quickly established at Creston, Fairmont, Golden, and Grand Forks. The aerial fire fighting effort relies on 45 contract aircraft and helicopters as well as numerous other aircraft that are called in as needed.

The Importance of Public Assistance

The public is an important partner in our forest fire fighting success and is our primary fire detection source. The Southeast Fire Centre appreciates the public's continuing initiative and support in reporting fires in the Nelson Forest Region.

The Key Role of Weather

Weather plays a big factor in the prediction of fire behaviour. The Southeast Fire Centre has its own weather technician to give fire fighters up-to-date information on both fire weather and fire behaviour (i.e. wind, humidity, temperature, rate-of-spread, difficulty of control, etc.). Weather data is collected at a number of remote weather stations throughout the Region.