Canadian Underwriter

BC Wildfire Service making “good progress” on 23 small wildfires in province’s southeast

September 2, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter

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The BC Wildfire Service has reported that its firefighters are making “good progress” on the two dozen small lightning-caused wildfires that started in the southeast part of the province over the past week.

The South Spencer Road fire near Lytton is currently about 30% contained. Photo: @BCGovFireInfo.

Since Aug. 29, BC Wildfire Service crews have responded to 23 wildfires in the Southeast Fire Centre, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said in a press release on Thursday. Many of the fires are still “highly visible” in the area, the ministry reported, but none is currently threatening any structures or communities.

There are three separate fires burning about 12 kilometres south of Boswell in the Sanca area east of Kootenay Lake that are either in the mop-up or patrol stages, the release said, with the exception of the wildfire burning closest to Sanca Creek. Airtankers, a helicopter and 16 ground crews are currently working on this 2.2-hectare fire.

Other fires being worked on include:

  • Two small wildfires burning about five kilometres north of Queens Bay (in the Coffee Creek region west of Kootenay Lake) are 100% contained and are in the patrol stage;
  • The wildfire south of Champion Lakes Provincial Park is 100% contained and is in the patrol stage. The fire on Mount Heinze (east of Birchbank) is also 100% contained and is in the mop-up stage;
  • Five BC Wildfire Service firefighters and one water tender are responding to a 0.9-hectare wildfire on Keystone Mountain, northwest of Salmo;
  • One initial attack crew and a helicopter are responding to a 0.3-hectare wildfire west of Ymir;
  • Airtankers are responding to a 20-hectare wildfire burning west of Slocan Park, in the Wolverton Creek area. This fire is located in steep, difficult terrain and while it is highly visible to residents of the area, it is not threatening any structures.

Since April 1, 2016, the BC Wildfire Service has responded to 181 wildfires in the Southeast Fire Centre, 51 of which were human-caused, the ministry reported.

The fire danger rating in most of the Southeast Fire Centre is currently “high,” with some areas in the Arrow, Kootenay Lake and Cranbrook fire zones rated “extreme.” The Southeast Fire Centre extends from the U.S. border in the south to the Mica Dam in the north and from the Okanagan Highlands and Monashee Mountains in the west to the B.C.-Alberta border in the east.

There is currently one “wildfire of note,” the South Spencer Road fire two kilometres south of Lytton. The estimated 500-hectare fire, discovered on Wednesday, was 30% contained as of Thursday night, the BC Wildfire Service reported. “The fire continues to burn away from structures and sprinkler protection units have been mobilized on properties in the area,” the organization said. “Crews are suppressing the southern flank, closest to critical infrastructure and the community of Lytton.”

An evacuation order is in effect for several homes within both the Lytton First Nation and Thompson-Nicola Regional District boundaries. The Lytton First Nation has issued an evacuation alert for 17 homes and an evacuation order for nine homes and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District has issued an evacuation alert for 24 homes and an evacuation order for two homes.

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