** Provided courtesy of the RDEK and BC Wildfire Service
(September 11, 2017) -- It was another hot, dry day today with gusty winds and that trend is expected to continue through tomorrow. Cooler temperatures may move into the region by Wednesday, but it is expected to be another day of active fire activity across the region tomorrow. As a result, you may see increased smoke over some of our fires.
Here is the evening round up from the BC Wildfire Service on the fire front:
• Lamb Creek – This fire estimated at 1978 hectares. The controlled burn yesterday on the west side of the fire was successful and reduced fuels between the wildfire and constructed guard lines. Additional helicopters and air tankers were used to support this operation. As a result of the controlled burn, an increase in smoke was visible. Today, they undertook planned, small-scale hand ignitions to reinforce the guard on the southeast side of the fire. There were 72 personnel on site today with 21 pieces of heavy equipment, along with four helicopters and air tankers when required. Click here for the latest BC Wildfire News Bulletin about this fire. The evacuation ORDER remains in effect for Moyie North and Moyie South. In today's Video #6, BC Wildfire Info Officer Mike McCulley talks in more detail about the Lamb Creek fire.
• Linklater – There has been minimal growth on the Canadian portion of this fire for 4 days and this fire remains estimated at 927 hectares on the Canadian side of the border. This large U.S. fire has broached the border three times, and each portion is being tight-lined and is mopped up. Steady work continues on the fire and control lines held through the recent windy conditions. There were 32 firefighters and 7 pieces of heavy equipment working the fire today. As the BC Wildfire Service continues to make progress on the fire, the RDEK has rescinded the evacuation order for the west side of Lake Koocanusa in the Newgate area and downgraded it to an evacuation ALERT. In addition, the RDEK and Tobacco Plains Indian Band have lifted the evacuation ALERT for the east side of Lake Koocanusa in the Grasmere area. Click here for the latest BC Wildfire News Bulletin.
• St. Mary River – This wildfire is still estimated at 398-hectares and crews are continuing to mop-up a 150 ft perimeter around the plateau portion of this fire. This fire did not cross control lines despite the recent windy conditions. Work on this fire continues to progress well. The Aqam Indian Band lifted the evacuation alert for 36 homes on the Reserve this afternoon; however, the RDEK's evacuation alert for the Mission / Fort Steele area remains in effect. Click here for the latest BC Wildfire News Bulletin.
• Quinn Creek – This fire originated in the Quinn Creek area, and winds moved it into the Bull River drainage. The fire has been very active on the northern side of the fire within the Bull River drainage, with smoke and ash visible in Elkford and Sparwood. The fire has not moved out of the Bull River drainage. Air tankers and helicopters have established a retardant line on the ridge on the east of the drainage to prevent further movement eastward. The fire has not challenged this retardant line at this time. Crews are working to establish control lines on the southern edge of this fire. It is not currently threatening any communities. Click here for the latest BC Wildfire News Bulletin.
• White River Complex – The clearing of the smoke in the area yesterday allowed the BC Wildfire Service to get a better look at the White River fire. It is now estimated at 22,500 hectares. A dedicated Incident Management Team has arrived to take over the operation of this fire and they are currently establishing a camp in the Canal Flats area. They will assume command of the fire tomorrow (September 12). The evacuation ORDER for the Whiteswan area remains in effect.
• Soowa Mountain – This fire is located in a remote area south east of Elko and is visible from Highway 3 and Elko. This fire has been very active for the past few days, and again today. This fire is not threatening any communities at this time. Click here for the latest BC Wildfire News Bulletin.
• Flathead Area Fires (including Lodgepole) – An Incident Management Team is planned to take over the fires in the Flathead area. The BC Wildfire Service will provide more information once these teams are in place.There are no threats to communities at this time.
• Kenow – This fire is estimated at 4420 hectares in size and is burning in a remote area in BC near the Alberta border. While no structures or communities are threatened in BC, the fire has crossed over into Alberta and as a result, has prompted officials to issue an evacuation order for the Waterton Lakes National Park and townsite. Crews and resources from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and Parks Canada are responding to this fire. For more information on the evacuation order, visit: http://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/waterton. In today's Video #6, BC Wildfire Info Officer Donna MacPherson explains more about this fire.
The SE Fire Centre issued a reminder about the backcountry closure and Off Road Vehicle restrictions today. As many people are heading west to hunt, I've included the ORV information. A reminder that the East Kootenay is within the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District, which remains closed. Here is the update from the SE Fire Centre:
• The BC Wildfire Service reminds the public that the operation of any off-road vehicle for recreational or hunting purposes on Crown land remains prohibited within the Southeast Fire Centre. In addition, all Crown land within the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District remains closed to public access due to the current fire danger ratings and the number of wildfires burning in the region. While some parts of B.C. have been experiencing cooler temperatures and rain, the fire danger rating is still "high" or "extreme" in many areas of the Southeast Fire Centre. The BC Wildfire Service continually monitors conditions in the region and these restrictions may be expanded or rescinded as needed. The off-road vehicle prohibition that is in effect throughout the Southeast Fire Centre and the public access restriction that is in effect in the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District will remain in place until conditions warrant otherwise and the BC Wildfire Service rescinds these two measures. A map of the area affected by the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District closure is available online: http://ow.ly/EfiR30eQBUm. Anyone found in contravention of the off-road vehicle prohibition or the backcountry closure may be issued a violation ticket in the amount of $767. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
The Air Quality Advisory remains in effect in the East Kootenay.
For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca