Grateful for information meeting on fires
Last night the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) and BC Wildfire Services provided an update on the current fire situation for the public at the Kimberley Conference & Athlete Training Centre.
City of Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick this morning posted an overview of the meeting on Facebook:
We had a great public information meeting last night in Kimberley. We are grateful to have had the involvement of the Manager and Deputy Manager of the Southeast Fire Centre (SEFC) along with an Information Officer, who made the trip over from Castlegar.
In addition, a local Wildfire Officer who has worked on both the Lost Dog and Meachen Creek fires was in attendance and provided a host of information.
The evening began with a quick summary of the national fire picture followed by an overview of the provincial fire situation and how both of those are impacting resources for the SEFC.
Currently, there are 161 fires in the SEFC (365 since the beginning of fire season), with roughly 30,000 hectares burned to date. There were 63 new starts last Saturday alone, and an additional 19 on Sunday. Currently, there are 21 fires in the Cranbrook zone and 8 in the Columbia zone.
There was then a brief overview of a few key fires and detailed information on the Lost Dog Complex and Meachen Creek fires from the first few days of the fires through to today.
For those unable to attend the meeting, we did have it videoed and we will be posting the video hopefully within about 24 hours. I will keep you posted once it is posted.
Without further ado, here is a regional recap for August 15. A reminder that many of these fires have Forest Service Road restrictions around them – and to see maps of those and the latest fire info, it’s on the BC Wildfire website.
The BCWS has posted a fire perimeter on its website – so you can see roughly where the fire is burning. It remains in remote, difficult terrain that is not safe for crews or accessible for equipment. The Wildfire Service is currently doing planning for response once the fire reaches more workable ground. While the size remains estimated at 10,000 hectares, that could change once they get more detailed mapping as the smoke and conditions have still made getting an accurate map difficult. They continue to assess the fire every day and there has been very little growth over the past three days. To view the perimeter map, visit www.bcwildfire.ca and click on the interactive map.
The evacuation ALERT for 65 addresses in Electoral Area E in the St. Mary Valley remains in place.
Lost Dog Complex Fire (N12413)
BCWS is making some progress on the Lost Dog Complex. They successfully completed the planned ignition today and were able to safely burn fuels from a containment line toward the fire to remove fuel and steer the fire inside predetermined boundaries. Today they had 54 firefighters, two helicopters, and six pieces of heavy equipment on site and have made success on the north side (at the fire’s head) and along the east side. If you click on the BC Wildfire website and zoom right in on the main fire of note symbol, you can see an estimated perimeter of the fire and I hope that will give you a sense for the fire’s location.
Crews will be back on the fire tomorrow and although they are making headway, the fire is classified as out of control and the evacuation ALERT remains in place for 121 address points in the Ta Ta Creek.
Area Forecast – Well, I’d like to say bust out the umbrella, but it’s the sunscreen you’ll want to reach for. The forecast is calling for continued hot, dry conditions with no significant rainfall in the near future. There is a chance of isolated thunderstorm activity over the next day or two, but in general, it will remain hot and dry.
Air Quality – The smoky conditions are also expected to continue to persist. While this can keep temperatures down a bit and help on the fire front, the smoke can be really difficult for people.
For general information about wildfire smoke and your health, contact HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 (toll free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week). It is recommended that if you have breathing difficulties you try to spend some time inside to get a break from the smoke. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help.
For more information on current air quality, see: www.bcairquality.ca. Before you ask, I do not have any specific air quality information for the East Kootenay other than the Smoky Skies Bulletin is in effect and if the smoke affects you, you can try the above-noted tips or check the online resources.
– Don McCormick, City of Kimberley Mayor