* Provided courtesy of the RDEK and the BC Wildfire Service - September 18, 2017 @ 10:45pm
Here is the latest video installment with BC Wildfire Service Info Officer Mike McCully. The weather forecast this weekend is calling for wind, so we thought it would be good to talk more specifically about wind and its relationship to fire. We’ve also been getting so many thoughtful calls about donations, so we’ve touched on that as well. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/Ab-3I5wyY1M
Here is the evening update, starting with a look at the fire front from the BC Wildfire Service:
· Barbour Creek Fire - this fire broke out earlier today in Barbour Creek approximately 3km SW of Panorama. The BC Wildfire Service responded with 4 personnel and a helicopter. In addition, 2 units and 10 members of the Panorama Fire Department, a tender and 2 members from Invermere Fire and an engine and 2 members from Windermere Fire responded. The fire is estimated at 0.6 hectares in size and is not threatening any communities or structures. Crews are making good progress on it this evening.
· Lamb Creek fire – today there were 48 firefighters, 3 helicopters, and 14 pieces of heavy equipment. The fire is estimated at approximately 1800 hectares in size. The crews continue to work on building hand and machine guard around the fire, and may use controlled ignition to burn out fuels between guard lines and the fire, if conditions allow. Air tankers and helicopters may be used at any time to cool the fire, allowing ground crews and heavy equipment to continue construction and reinforcement of guard lines. Structural protection units have been placed in priority areas, and continue to assess values. The fire has been burning at low intensity for the last few days due to smoky conditions and calm winds, resulting in minimal growth. However, a change in weather starting today will likely bring increased winds and clearer skies, resulting in the potential for increased fire activity. An Incident Management Team has taken over operations of this fire, and additional crews continue to arrive daily.
· Linklater fire – remains estimated at 927 hectares on the Canadian side of the border. Today there were 16 firefighters, 9 pieces of heavy equipment and 1 helicopter working the fire. The BC Wildfire Service is constructing guard focusing on the northeast side of the fire. Helicopter bucketing focused on hot spots as visibility allowed. Minimal growth has been experienced over the last several days on this fire. The total fire size is estimated to be 8,563 ha as the majority of the fire continues to burn in the USA.
· St. Mary’s River Fire - There has been no significant change on this fire over the last several days. Crews continue to work on extinguishing the fire perimeter and today there were 15 firefighters and 2 pieces of heavy equipment on it. It’s still considered 76% contained.
· White River – the last size estimate was 12,000 hectares in size and smoke conditions are making it difficult to get an updated size. There is no change to report on this fire today from last night’s update.
· Flathead / Wigwam Fires – smoky conditions over the area continued today. There is no change from last night’s update.
· White Creek – This fire is burning in a remote, high elevation area north west of Kimberley and is not threatening any communities. There is no change from last night’s update.
· Quinn Creek – No change from last night’s update
Waterton Evacuation Order Issued Tonight / Kenow Fire
Parks Canada and RCMP have safely evacuated all residents and non-essential personnel from Waterton Lakes National Park. The Waterton townsite is secured. Admittance at the gate is limited to essential personnel. Intense fire behavior and low visibility caused a risk to safety. The fire did not cross Sage Pass or South Kootenay Pass into the park and helicopters were able to bucket water later in the afternoon. Fire crews enhanced Waterton’s infrastructure and facility protection. For more information, visit: http://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/waterton
Kikomun Creek Provincial Park and Premier Lake Provincial Park Partial Closures
Effective immediately, areas beyond 50 metres of developed portions of Kikomun Creek Provincial Park and Premier Lake Provincial Park are closed to the public. Areas within 50 metres of the developed portions of the park campgrounds, day-use areas and service yard, including park access roads, remain open. A map of the affected areas is available online at: http://ow.ly/JAKI30f0YOT and http://ow.ly/KXnt30f0YSA
Air Quality Advisory Remains in Effect
We’ve had some inquiries about the air quality in the East Kootenay. The Air Quality Statement / Smoky Skies Bulletin remains in effect. Although there is no monitoring station in the East Kootenay, the advice from both the Ministry of Environment and Interior Health is that the air quality is poor and its recommended to take steps to minimize exposure by avoiding strenuous outdoor activities, staying inside if you have breathing difficulties, or finding an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If your home isn’t air conditioned, you can seek a break from the smoke by going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned. For more information on current air quality, see: www.bcairquality.ca
Evacuation Orders / Alerts
· The RDEK currently has evacuation ORDERS in effect in the following areas: Whiteswan Lake, Moyie (north and south), Newgate / West Koocanusa
· The RDEK currently has evacuation ALERTS in effect in the following areas: east side Lake Koocanusa in the Grasmere area, Mission/Fort Steele, Aqam – 36 homes on Reserve
· There are currently NO alerts or orders for any of the municipalities in the East Kootenay.
You can find the evacuation orders and alerts, including maps, on our website at: http://www.rdek.bc.ca/departments/emergencyservices/emergencyinfo/ . The RDEK held its first meeting with evacuees tonight. There was a good turnout and it provided us with an opportunity for two way information sharing.