Grand Forks wildfire update
Despite the public meetings held in Grand Forks and Christina Lake regarding the wildfires and the protocol regarding evacuations if it arises, the fires around the area have not grown significantly in the last few days. Currently, there have been no evacuation alerts or orders as of yet for Grand Forks and area.
Stickpin Fire – size: 16,830 Ha (hectares); 15 per cent containment
The stickpin fire in Washington continues to be the largest wildfire burning near Grand Forks. Support teams from the Washington National Guard have arrived. Inciweb (Washington wildfire information site) states that structure protection is the highest priority for the limited resources. Dozer and halt line construction continued yesterday on the Western flank. The fire has burned to the Togo fire (2003) burn area to the north. The fire is approximately five kilometers from the Canadian border. 400 firefighter personnel are involved.
“The growth has been minimal,” said Fanny Barnard, B.C. fire information officer, Southeast Fire Centre. “The severe wind event we were expecting yesterday didn’t really materialize and there wasn’t growth to the north. Growth has been minimal to the east as well, which is the direction the fire has been growing.”
Canadian firefighting crews are expected to join the battle tomorrow with 2 unit crews (40 firefighters). Barnard told the Gazette that incident management team in B.C. have been meeting with their American counterparts working on details regarding Canadian crews helping out with the Stickpin fire.
“We have two unit crews in Grand Forks ready to be deployed to this incident tomorrow,” said Barnard. “So far the plan is for them is to work on one part of the fire. The U.S. has been very successful so far. They have 15 per cent containment, which is mostly on the western flank. They’re also going to be focusing on the northern flank.”
Paulson Pass fire – size: 260 Ha; 0 per cent containment
Karlie Shaughnessy of the fire information centre said there are currently 60 firefighters, three helicopters and six pieces of heavy equipment battling the blaze.
“Today crews are constructing line on the north west flank and we have some heavy equipment establishment line on the south west flank,” she said.
Highway 3 from Christina Lake to Paulson Bridge is open to all traffic with a warning to watch for fallen rock and debris as well as emergency crews on the road. No structures or residences are threatened at this point.
Granby/Lynch Creek fire – size: 75 Ha; 0 per cent containment
Shaughnessy said there are 20 firefighters and a helicopter fighting the blaze. The fire is lightning-caused and was first reported on Aug. 13. No structures or residences are threatened at this point.
Shaugnessey noted that there are sprinkler protection units stationed in Grand Forks as well as Christina Lake.
Rock Creek fire – size: 4,534 Ha; 50 per cent containment
The larger estimated size of this fire is due to new growth on the southeast flank, into the old west fire. The majority of the fire’s growth took place on Aug. 13 but heavy smoke previously limited mapping capabilities.
Over the next few days different aircraft including airtankers may be supporting control lines. The cause of the fire is still under investigation but is suspected to be human-caused. There are currently 145 helicopters, 11 helicopters and 20 pieces of heavy equipment on site. Crews are continuing to reinforce and extend control lines near properties by establishing machine-guard and fuel-free areas. Extensive helicopter bucketing continues to occur on the east flank.
Evacuation Alert is in effect.
The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary has downgraded all areas under Evacuation Order to Evacuation Alert, effective at 7:00 pm Wednesday night. Highway 33 remains closed, except for local residents with a pass that has been
issued by the Regional District.
For more information on these closures and alerts, please visit: http://www.rdkb.com
For more about preparing your home and property and other information visit http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcwildfire/