Wildfire update – Evacuation alert lifted for Sitkum Creek wildfire area

No wildfires located around Grand Forks. Sitkum only wildfire of note in Southeast Fire Centre area.

Cooler temperatures have helped firefighters battling several wildfires in the region.

Jordan Turner, fire officer for the Southeast Fire Centre, said the colder weather and the precipitation have really helped firefighters’ efforts.

“We had a few fires in the Boundary region last week but they’re all out,” said Turner. “We’ve had some precipitation. It’s been spotty but it’s helped when it has rained.”

The evacuation alert for the Sitkum Creek wildfire near Nelson has been lifted as a result of recent precipitation and reduced fire activity.

However, there is still an access restriction around the Sitkum Creek wildfire. The restriction has been put in place to protect the safety of the public and firefighting personnel. The fire currently covers 450 hectares and is 50 per cent contained. Authorities have prescribed a proactive burn out operation to fight the fire.

“The wildfire is located in very steep and dangerous terrain and this burn out is necessary to limit the potential growth and direction of the fire,” said Noelle Kekula, fire information officer, Sitkum Creek Wilfire, in a press release. “The objective is to guide the fire toward control lines and contain the fire to the areas between Duhamel Creek and Sitkum Creek.”

Kekula said that crews have established an equipment guard on the east flank of the fire and have built a fuel free control line on the south and west flanks of the fire.

“When safe to do so, crews will begin a controlled fire to burn off any remaining unburned fuel between the guard and the wildfire,” she added. “This removes fuel from the fire’s path and reduces the chance of the wildfire breaching the control line.”

There are currently 120 firefighters, four helicopters and six pieces of heavy equipment battling the Sitkum Creek fire.

Over the weekend there were 44 new lightning-caused wildfires across the Southeast Fire Centre.

The largest one is an eight hectare blaze two kilometres south of Silverton and east of Highway 6 near Beaverton Creek and near the base of Mount Aylwin. There was an evacuation alert of the area but it was rescinded. The fire is 10 per cent contained. Currently, 20 firefighters and two helicopters are fighting the blaze. Mop up.

There was also a 1.5 hectare fire near China Creek, three kilometres west of Castlegar, which is now out. There is a group of four small fires directly across Lower Arrow Lake from Deer Park as well as a 0.3 hectare fire near Nemo Creek, two kilometres off the west shore of Slocan Lake.

There is also a 0.2 hectare fire near South Bear Paw Lake north of Gladstone Provincial Park.

The 117 hectare wildfire near Baynes Lake by Cranbrook is in mop-up status.

There are no wildfires near Grand Forks at this time.

There was also an end to the Smokey Skies Advisory for the Boundary issued on July 13 by the Ministry of the Environment.

The release stated, “The weather system that is moving through the Southern Interior has reduced the amount of smoke carried into the region resulting in improved air quality. These conditions are expected to continue over the next few days.”