Elliott Brood was the first act to perform after Wapiti Music Festival reopened on Saturday evening following a severe thunderstorm, which brought rain and hail to the festival grounds in Fernie. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Lightning sparks fires, closes Fernie music festival

Heavy rain, hail and lightning temporarily shuts down Wapiti Music Festival on Saturday.

Lightning strikes have sparked a number of new fires across the Elk Valley and temporarily closed a music festival.

On Saturday, Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the region, warning of strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain.

The storm temporarily shut down Wapiti Music Festival at Annex Park in Fernie.

About 5 p.m., organizers cut power to the site and advised festival-goers to take cover from the storm, which brought thunder, heavy rain and hail to the festivals grounds.

A lightning strike also sparked a fire near Fernie Alpine Resort, which was visible from Annex Park.

“Due to the lighting, for the safety of everyone. The power has been shut and we are advising everyone to take cover,” wrote Wapiti organizers on Facebook.

The event resumed about 1.5 hours later after the storm had passed, however, Winnipeg band Yes We Mystic was forced to cancel their set.

The latest fire map from BC Wildfire Service shows there are seven active fires across the region, including the Coal Creek Road fire 12km east of Fernie.

Lightning strikes have been blamed for four fires at Lizard Range, Lynch Creek and Bow River Forest Service Rd, west of Elkford.

The biggest is the Bow River FSR fire, which was discovered on Saturday and is 170ha in size.

The cause of another fire in Galloway has not yet been determined.

About 65km southeast of Fernie, a large wildfire continues to burn in the Flathead area.

On Saturday afternoon, the Sage Creek fire was 1445ha in size and being managed using a combination of suppression techniques and monitoring to steer and contain it within the perimeter.

Visit BC Wildfire Service to view the fire map.

 

The latest fire map from BC Wildfire Service on Sunday morning.

Revellers start to return to Wapiti Music Festival after a storm on Saturday. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Just Posted

City of Fernie poised to approve $19.3m loan for multi-purpose centre

The City must prove it can pay its portion of the $72.5 million centre if successful for a grant

Elk Valley mines boost overall Teck production

Fording River, Elkview achieve record fourth quarter; Fording, Greenhills have bumper year

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Local DJ to take stage at Fernie Stoke Fest

Jenn Johnson - aka Jenn Frost - confirmed as closing act at Fernie Stoke Fest on April 9

Fashion Fridays: Must have wardrobe basics

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Kootenay man dies in crash near Sparwood

Accident occurred last night east of Sparwood, RCMP appealing for witnesses

POLL: Are Wildlife Detection Systems in the Elk Valley working?

In 2016, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) installed two wildlife… Continue reading

Fernie Ghostriders face defeat during away weekend

Fans encouraged to wear white for first playoffs game at Fernie Memorial Arena, February 26

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Most Read