Emergency Info

 

This page will be updated with general emergency information updates and links that may be helpful. Below you will see updates - please note the date and time updates were posted as most recent will appear closer to the top.

Current Evacuation Alerts / Orders

  • NONE - no evacuation alerts or orders are currently in effect

Campfire Ban in Place for Entire East Kootenay

The entire East Kootenay is under a total Fire / Campfire Ban which will remain in place until further notice.  All rural areas of the RDEK are included in the ban.  In the municipalities (Cranbrook, Kimberley, Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford, Canal Flats, Invermere and Radium), there may be other municipal bylaws / regulations that apply, so you should check with your municipality.

Specifically, prohibited activities include:

  • campfires, as defined in the Wildfire Regulation: http://www.gov.bc.ca/wildfirelegislation
  • the burning of waste or other materials
  • stubble or grass fires of any size over any area
  • the use of fireworks, sky lanterns, tiki torches, chimineas, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description
  • the use of binary exploding targets (e.g. for target practice)
  • the use of air curtain burners (forced air buerning systems)

To report a fire: *5555 from a cell, or toll free 1-800-663-5555

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: http://www.bcwildfire.ca

News Release - Off Road Vehicles Restricted in Back Country (posted Aug 4/17 12:41PM)

Reposted from South East Fire Centre - Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development BC Wildfire Service

Thursday, August 17/17 - Fire Update / Forecast Calling for Wind Friday

Here is a little fire update, weather look ahead and general overview. Starting first with the fire front:

  • The Island Pond Fire – is in good shape! It’s no longer considered a fire of note, 100% contained and being mopped up. There will be no further updates on this fire (yahoo!).
  • Lamb Creek/Tate Creek Fire – is under control, fully contained and in mop up. Although there are still resources working on it doing mop up, there will be no further updates on this fire.
  • The White River Complex Wildfire – (White River Fire and the Grave Creek Fire)   The White River wildfire covers an estimated  1,214 hectares and there's no change to report.  The Grave Creek wildfire covers about 980 hectares.  Resources on Grave Creek today include: 16 personnel, 3 pieces of heavy equipment and 1 helicopter. Initial attack crews quickly dealt with 4 small spot fires yesterday outside the fire boundaries. Focus today is on guarding. Forest Service Road Closure: there is a modified road closure (to non-industrial traffic only) on the White-Middle Fork Forest Service Road at the 45.5-kilometre mark as well as on the White-Grave Forest Service Road beginning at the 44-kilometre mark. A map of the affected areas is available online at http://ow.ly/Y9XN30erenY
  • The Mt. Erickson Fire east of Sparwood is OUT.
  • The White Creek Fire (northwest of Kimberley) is still estimated at 30 hectares burning in a high elevation remote area and not threatening any structures or communities. It is being closely monitored.
  • The Quinn Creek Fire east of Top of the World Provincial Park – continues to burn in a remote area, not posing any threats and is now estimated to be 70 hectares in size.
  • The Verdant Creek Fire in Kootenay National Park is now estimated at 14, 131 hectares in size.   Over 90 personnel are on that fire currently. A travel advisory remains in place on Highway 93S from Radium to Castle Junction due to Fire fighters will be working adjacent to the highway and reduced speed zones will be in place. Drivers should anticipate possible delays.  Check http://www.drivebc.ca or www.alberta511.ca.   Part of the fire has been burning in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, which had led to a closure; however, the Park Closure Order for Mount Assiniboine Park has been modified to re-open portions of the Park deemed safe for visitation.  Details on the Park webpage 
While the temperatures are expected to remain quite warm tomorrow, there is a cold front pushing into the region (likely late Friday or early Saturday). In advance of the cold front, we can expect some wind – along with strong gusts – tomorrow.  Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for the region advising gusts could be up to 60km/hr tomorrow.  There is a chance isolated thunderstorms could develop as well (and if they do, the wind gusts will be stronger and accompanied by lightning and possibly minimal precipitation).  So, you may want to “batten down the hatches” tomorrow!

The Off-Road Vehicle Restriction remains in place as does the Campfire Ban.  To report a fire or smoke plume, call *5555 from a cellphone or 1-800-663-5555 from a landline.  To report an Off-Road Vehicle violation, call 1-877-952-7277.

Unless something significant changes over the weekend, the next update will be late Monday.  A reminder that it is still extremely dry out there, so we all need to remain aware and vigilant.

Tuesday, August 15/17 Evening update - Recap of Fires in EK **New Forestry Road Closure on White River Complex**

  • The Island Pond Fire – the evacuation alert has been rescinded. The fire is in mop up and had 56 people and 3 pieces of heavy equipment working on it today. It remains 100% contained and today was estimated at 1032.5 hectares.
  • Lamb Creek/Tate Creek Fire – is now classified as under control and is 100% contained.  It is still estimated at 25 hectares has 20 personnel, 4 pieces of heavy and 1 helicopter on it.
  • The White River Complex Wildfire – the White River Fire and the Grave Creek fire are now being referred to as the White River complex wildfire, because they are near the same forest service roads that currently have restrictions in place.  These fires are about 15 kilometres apart and did not experience any significant growth in recent days.  The White River wildfire covers about 1,214 hectares, while the Grave Creek wildfire covers about 980 hectares. The combined size of this complex is 2,194 hectares and are together designated as a Wildfire of Note on the BC Wildfire Service website at http://www.bcwildfire.ca.  Forest Service Road Closure: to support fire suppression activities and protect public safety, there is a modified road closure (to non-industrial traffic only) on the White-Middle Fork Forest Service Road at the 45.5-kilometre mark as well as on the White-Grave Forest Service Road beginning at the 44-kilometre mark. A map of the affected areas is available online at http://ow.ly/Y9XN30erenY
  • Forster Creek area west of Radium/Edgewater is OUT
  • Fording River Fire (southeast of Elkford) is OUT
  • The Mt. Erickson fire east of Sparwood is estimated at 0.04 hectares in size. It is not threatening any communities or structures and will be actioned in a priority sequence as crews are available.
  • The White Creek fire (northwest of Kimberley) is still estimated at 30 hectares burning in a high elevation remote area and not threatening any structures or communities. It is being closely monitored.
  • The Quinn Creek fire east of Top of the World Provincial Park – no change to report.  It is burning in a remote area, not posing any threats and continues to be estimated at 30 hectares in size.
  • The Verdant Creek Fire in Kootenay National Park is now estimated at 14, 131 hectares in size.   The fire did receive 15mm of rain yesterday, which will help crews make progress. A travel advisory remains in place on Highway 93S from Radium to Castle Junction due to Fire fighters will be working adjacent to the highway and reduced speed zones will be in place. Drivers should anticipate possible delays.  Check http://www.drivebc.ca or www.alberta511.ca

Some places across the region got more rain than others in the past 24 hours and it looks like it will get hotter and drier over the next couple of days.  A reminder that although that rain felt great and cooled things off, conditions are still extremely dry and as the temperatures get hotter toward the weekend, that drying trend will continue.

The smoke in the region today is once again primarily coming from the huge fires in the Cariboo/Kamloops region and other fires to our west (the local fires are contributing some as well of course).   With overnight inversions possible over the next couple of days, we could see variable and sometimes very smoky conditions.  The Air Quality Advisory remains in effect.

A reminder that the Off Road Vehicle prohibition remains in effect as does the campfire ban. 

If there are no significant changes in the next 24 hours, the next update may be mid-day Thursday. 

Monday - August 14/17 Evening Update - Recap of Fires in EK

The unsettled conditions and thunderstorms are possible right through late tonight. While we’ve had some rain in parts of the region, it still remains extremely dry and we have a lot of summer left yet.

• The Island Pond Fire – the evacuation alert has been rescinded. The fire is in mop up and had 38 people and 5 pieces of heavy equipment working on it today. It remains 100% contained.
• Lamb Creek/Tate Creek Fire – it remains estimated at 25 hectares and is estimated to be 40% contained. They had 22 personnel, 7 pieces of heavy equipment and a helicopter working that fire today. There was minimal change in the fire since last night and they are continuing to focus on guarding.
• Moyie Mountain – in mop up. 5 people continued to check for hot spots and complete final mop up.
• Verdant Creek Fire – Parks Canada is continuing to manage this fire. Crews are working directly on the fire’s edge on the north to suppress the fire and continue to work to contain the spread of the fire in proximity to Highway 93 South.  As of this writing, the highway between Radium and Castle Junction is open. There is a travel advisory in place as fire fighters will be working adjacent to the highway and reduced speed zones will be in place. Drivers should anticipate possible delays.  The Highway could still close due to smoke, fire suppression or fire, so it’s best to check ahead if you are using that route.  http://www.drivebc.ca or www.alberta511.ca are your best up-to-date information sources.

Other Fires of Note / New Starts:
• A new fire start in the Forster Creek area west of Radium/Edgewater is under control. It was very small = estimated at 0.01 hectares.
• Another new start to report on is the Fording River Fire (southeast of Elkford) – it is estimated at 0.05 hectares in size and is being actioned by an initial attack crew.
• The Mt. Erickson fire east of Sparwood is estimated at 0.16 hectares in size. It is not threatening any communities or structures and will be actioned in a priority sequence as crews are available.
• The White River Fire up the Middle Fork well past Whiteswan – is estimated at 1550 hectares in size. It’s burning in a remote area well away from anything of concern and they continue to monitor and assess it. The Middle Fork Forest Service Road remains closed at the 45.5km mark.
• The Grave Creek Fire, south west of the White River Fire – is now estimated at 980 hecatares in size.  It is also burning in a very remote area and is not threatening any communities or structures.
• There is an 11 person crew working west of Bloom Creek checking for relights and mopping up fires in that area
• The White Creek fire (northwest of Kimberley) is still estimated at 30 hectares burning in a high elevation remote area and not threatening any structures or communities. It is being closely monitored.
• The Quinn Creek fire east of Top of the World Provincial Park – no change to report.  It is burning in a remote area, not posing any threats and continues to be estimated at 30 hectares in size.

As the thunder and lightning rolls through the region over the next day or so, we may see a number of small starts. The BC Wildfire Service will be assessing daily and actioning all the new starts on a priority basis.

Monday August 14/17 - EVACUATION ALERT LIFTED

The evacuation alert that had been issued for 51 properties and a Provincial campground in the Island Pond / Premier Lake area has been rescinded.

“The BC Wildfire Service has made great progress on the Island Pond Fire. The fire is now 100% contained and they felt it was safe to lift the evacuation alert,” says RDEK Emergency Information Officer Loree Duczek. “We are grateful to all the men and women on the front lines and behind the scenes who have been working to get the fire contained and would like to extend a special thanks to the residents and visitors who have been affected since the fire broke out.”
The fire, which was sparked July 30 when a tree fell on a powerline, is still being actively actioned by the BC Wildfire Service.

Although the alert has been rescinded, Duczek says it’s still important for all residents in the region to remain aware and prepared. “We have received some rain in different parts of the region; however, conditions remain extremely dry and we all need to continue to stay prepared and aware as we still have a lot of summer left.”

For more information on the stages of evacuation and tips on how to prepare in the event of emergencies, visit http://www.rdek.bc.ca

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The campfire ban and Off-Road Vehicle Ban remain in place across the region. For more information on these prohibitions or for the latest status of wildfires in the Southeast Fire Centre, visit http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status

Saturday, August 12/17 - Island Pond Fire 100% Contained / New Fires Being Actioned

Good afternoon everyone,

I thought I’d start things off with some GOOD news.  The Island Pond Fire is now 100% contained after crews tied in the last remaining guarding on the north end.  They still have 88 people on that fire today along with 1 helicopter and 8 pieces of equipment.  The evacuation alert remains in place and is being evaluated pending the outcome of some unsettled weather conditions (including wind) in the forecast.  Definitely another step in the right direction on that fire!

A cold front is expected to move into the region tonight through tomorrow and could bring thunderstorms and wind as it moves in.  There is the chance for more dry lightning if that occurs and limited precipitation.  The weather will be a bit cooler for a couple of days and there is a chance of thunderstorms with the possibility of a few showers in the early part of the week.  Gusting winds will be likely as that cold front moves in.

We had a couple of new fires pop up around the region again in the past 24 hours. The good news is that all of them have been assessed and are being actioned by initial attack on a priority basis, but none are threatening structures/communities and some are already out. Continued great work by the BC Wildfire Service.

Quick Status Update:

• A small lightning caused fire is being assessed north west of Kimberley in the White Creek area.  It is a high-elevation fire estimated to be 0.6 hectares in size in steep terrain and is not threatening any structures or communities.
• 2 small fires in the Wiegert Creek area near Elkford.  Both are small lightning caused fires. The one located further west is estimated at 0.18 hectare and is being held at this time by crews at this time.  The other fire in the same area (but further east) is very small and is being monitored.
• Nordstrom Creek fire south of Weigert Creek is out. 
• The new fire start on the east side of Moyie Lake late Thursday is out.
• The Quinn Creek fire east of Top of the World Provincial Park, continues to be estimated at 10 hectares and is burning in a remote area well away from communities/structures.
• Fires in the Mt. Fitzpatrick, Cherry Lake and area West of Bloom Creek are all being actioned by initial attack crews
• The Lizard Creek fire, west of Fernie, is out
• The Olivia Creek fire (a newer fire north and east of Fernie) is estimated at 0.01 hectares in size and is in hand
• The Grave Creek fire (near the White River Fire) continues to burn in a remote area. It is generating a lot of smoke, which may be most visible in the Elk Valley/Elkford area due to the wind direction. It is now estimated at 425 hectares in size, but as it is in a very remote area, it is not threatening any communities or structures.

Ongoing fires of note:

• The Lamb Creek Fire in Moyie remains estimated at 20 hectares, still burning in rugged terrain near the old 2003 burn and not threatening any structures or communities – they have 24 people on that fire today, 4 pieces of heavy equipment, helicopters, air tankers and skimmers on it today.  It’s still estimated to be 30% contained.  The focus is on guarding.
• The Moyie Mountain fire is 100% contained and under control. It is now in mop up.
• The White River Fire: is estimated at 1550 hectares.  It is burning in a remote area well away from anything.  The Middle Fork Forest Service Road is closed at the 45.5km mark.
• The Verdant Creek wildfire in Kootenay National Park is still active. The Highway is currently open and it is a safe route to travel. Due to smoke,  travel is advised between 7am and 2pm daily.  It can still be closed without notice due to smoke, wildfire or wildfire suppression activities, so please check http://www.drivebc.ca or www.alberta511.ca for the current status. The fire does not directly threaten any local communities. Crews are working directly on the fire’s edge on the north to suppress the fire and continue to work to contain the spread of the fire in proximity to Highway 93 South.  The next update will be tomorrow afternoon around supper time (unless there is a significant change).

A reminder if you see smoke plumes or fire, please call it in! *5555 on a cell or 1-800-663-5555.  

The next update will be late afternoon Sunday (unless there is a significant change).

Friday, August 11/17 - New Fires Being Actioned by BC Wildfire Service

We had a couple of new fires pop up around the region since yesterday.   The BC Wildfire Service initial attack crews are moving about the region hitting the new starts.

All of the new fires are being actioned or monitored and none are threatening any communities or structures. 

The forecast is once again calling for the possibility of thunderstorms with gusty winds and dry lightning this afternoon/evening and tomorrow afternoon / evening.  So, as you’ve heard me say a ton over the past few days, if you see a plume of smoke or a fire, please report it.  *5555 from a cell or 1-800-663-5555.

Newest Starts: NONE are threatening communities/structures

• 2 in the Wiegert Creek area near Elkford.  Both are small lightning caused fires. The one located further west is estimated at 0.1 hectare and initial attack is on it and it is being held at this time.  The other fire in the same area (but further east) is very small (estimated to be 0.009 hectares) and is being monitored.
• 1 near Nordstrom Creek (south of the Wiegert Creek area) is also being actioned by Initial Attack
• 1 new fire start on the east side of Moyie Lake (in the Barkshanty area) was quickly reported and immediately actioned late yesterday. They are still actioning it today.
• In the Quinn Creek area east of Top of the World Provincial Park, there is a 10 hectare fire being monitored by the BC Wildfire Service.

Update on the Newer Starts from the past 48 hours:

• Fires in the Mt. Fitzpatrick, Cherry Lake and area West of Bloom Creek are all being actioned by initial attack crews (they are hitting all the newer fires)
• The Lizard Creek fire, west of Fernie, is still estimated at 0.3 hectares in size. They have personnel on it.
• The Grave Creek fire (near the White River Fire) continues to burn in a remote area. It is generating a lot of smoke, which may be most visible in the Elk Valley/Elkford area due to the wind direction. It is now estimated at 400 hectares in size, but as it is in a very remote area, it is not threatening any communities or structures.

Ongoing fires of note:

• The Lamb Creek Fire in Moyie remains estimated at 20 hectares, still burning in rugged terrain near the old 2003 burn and not threatening any structures or communities – they have 4 people, helicopters, air tankers and skimmers on it again today.  It’s still estimated to be 30% contained.
• The Moyie Mountain fire continues to be held. They have had 8 personnel on it again today and it’s still estimated at 4 hectares in size..
• The Island Pond Fire is remains estimated at 75% contained. 88 personnel are on that fire again today, along with 8 pieces of heavy equipment and they are still working on building guard.  Although there has been no growth, the fire is still active and the evacuation alert remains in place for Island Pond to the north end of Premier along with the campground at Premier Lake.
• The White River Fire: No change.  The Middle Fork Forest Service Road is closed at the 45.5km mark.
• The Verdant Creek wildfire in Kootenay National Park is still active. The Highway is currently open and travel is advised between 7am and 2pm daily.  It can still be closed without notice due to smoke, wildfire or wildfire suppression activities, so please check http://www.drivebc.ca or www.alberta511.ca for the current status.  As an aside, I met the nicest family from Ottawa who had been vacationing in the Koocanusa area and were headed to Banff/Calgary.  They went through the park Wednesday with the helicopters bucketing, firefighters working away, and the thick smoke in the air. This morning the two girls told me it was the most incredible MOUNTAIN experience they never knew they’d have!  I can just hear them on the first day of school saying “you’ll never guess what I did this summer!”

The next update will be tomorrow afternoon around supper time (unless there is a significant change).

A reminder that if there is lightning tonight, and you see smoke plumes or fire, please call it in! *5555 on a cell or 1-800-663-5555.   Also, a couple of the new fires being actioned are very small, burning at high elevation and may be visible to people from some distance away.  If you notice a dramatic change in those fires for any reason, it never hurts to call and let the SE Fire Centre know.

Finally, the Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) prohibition and campfire ban both remain in place. In addition, the public is reminded to properly dispose of all cigarettes. If you are a smoker and there is no ashtray in your vehicle, plan ahead before you go.  The dollar stores even have flashy, safe receptacles for $1.  I know this all seems obvious, but so does getting off a lake if a firefighting plane is landing, so it never hurts to toss out a quick reminder. Fines for disobeying the ORV ban are $767, for campfire violations they are $1150 for every person around the fire, and for errant cigarette butts its $575.

Tuesday, August 8/17 - No Significant Changes to Report

Yesterday, when the weather forecast looked like it was possible that we could see lightning develop across parts of the region, the BC Wildfire Service mobilized its resources to be ready.  That, combined with the quick reports from the public, helped them get on new fire starts very quickly.   They have been on all the fires today giving it their all, and there are no significant changes to report tonight.

None of the new fires is threatening homes, structures or communities at this time.  We do have reports of a few new possible starts this afternoon.  They are all being actioned and I will have more of an update on those tomorrow; however, they are all lightning starts, are being actioned by crews (ground and helicopter) and none are threatening structures or communities.

The skimmers and helicopters have been getting water at Moyie. Just a reminder, if you’re on a boat, a seadoo or even a floaty (on any lake) and you see planes landing to fill up with water, go to shore and stay out of the area.  The planes fly two or three at a time and the last thing the pilots need when they are working tirelessly to get water loaded and dropped onto the fires is boats in the way.

Moyie:
• Lamb Creek Fire – remains estimated at 5 hectares in size.   The fire is burning in rugged terrain and crews, heavy equipment and air tankers worked it all day today (and are still at it). 
• Moyie Mountain – it remains estimated at 4 hectares in sizes. The focus on the ground and by air today was to establish guarding.  They will continue with those efforts.
• Sunrise Creek and Barkshanty Forest Service Road fires are effectively out and are in mop up.

South Country:
• Elk River Fire (Grasmere/Baynes) – It remains estimated at 2 hectares in size. Ground crews have been working since yesterday to get guarding in. It is not threatening any communities or structures at this time.

Elk Valley:
• There were two small fires being actioned today – one on Fording Mountain and one in the Round Prairie area. Both are small, being actioned by crews and pose no threats to communities or structures.

ONGOING FIRES OF NOTE:
• Island Pond Fire – still estimated at 35% contained. 79 personnel, heavy equipment and helicopters on it today. While we are headed in the right direction, it is still an active fire and Evacuation Alert remains in place for the Island Pond to Premier Lake area (including the Premier Lake campground).
• White River Fire (up the Middle Fork past Whiteswan) – still estimated at 1226 hectares burning in a remote area. 10 personnel, 2 pieces of heavy equipment and 1 helicopter are on that fire today. Work is focused on guarding.
• Verdant Creek Fire (Kootenay National Park) – Estimated at 13,500 hectares. Parks Canada is actively managing the Verdant Creek wildfire and it does not directly threaten any local communities or the Bow and Columbia valleys. Along Highway 93 South in Kootenay National Park, the fire has grown closer to the road, and burning embers have resulted in spot fires on the west side of the highway. Parks Canada’s ground crews continue to work to contain the spread of the fire, and helicopters are bucketing water. Highway 93 South through Kootenay National Park continues to be affected by wildfire, smoke and fire suppression activities and may be subject to temporary closures to ensure the safety of the public. Check http://www.DriveBC.ca and www.alberta511.ca for possible temporary closures, alternate routes and the most up-to-date information. . The north part of the fire has not grown in size and remains on the West side of the Continental Divide. Crews are working directly on the fire’s edge on the north.

I’ve had quite a few calls about the smoke today.  It’s mostly from other fires in BC and Washington. We do have local smoke, but the entire bottom half of the Province is socked in solid.  Depending on where you are at in the East Kootenay, tomorrow morning could be even thicker.  If you wake up and see that it’s like pea soup out there, it’s expected.  If you want to get a good visual, check out the Fire Smoke website – http://firesmoke.ca/forecasts/viewer/run/ops/BSC-CA-01/current/

There is a chance that isolated thunderstorms could develop again this evening (like they did yesterday). If they do form, they could bring dry lightning and limited precipitation. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that mother nature leaves us alone tonight.

Unless there is a significant change, the next update will be 11:30AM tomorrow morning. This allows the SE Fire Centre time to get their morning assessment reports in so I can share the most current informationI know that can feel like a long time, but consider it a good sign if you don’t hear from me until then   .  If something significant changes before then and we are advised, I will be in touch.

Tueday, August 8/17 - Several Fires Reported Across East Kootenay Region

There were a number of fire starts yesterday/last night.  Here is an overview followed by an update on some of the ongoing fires.

NEW FIRES:
Moyie:
• Lamb Creek Fire – 5 hectares in size.  No threats to communities or structures at this time. Crews, heavy equipment and air tankers are all on that fire today.
• Moyie Mountain – 4 hectares in sizes. No threats to communities or structures at this time. 9 personnel, air tankers on this one today working to establish guard.
• Sunrise Creek – contained / being extinguished
• Barkshanty – contained / being extinguished

South Country:
• Elk River Fire (Grasmere/Baynes) – located off of Highway 93 near the Elk River crossing. No threats to communities or structures at this time. 2 hectares in size. Ground crews are working to establish guard.

Elk Valley:
• South of Elkford on Fording Mountain – spot size fire (0.09ha or less). No threat to communities or structures at this time. Crews are on it.
• NE of the Elk River / Round Prairie – 0.09 ha. No threat to communities or structures. It’s being actioned.

Columbia Valley:
• South of Barr Creek (in the area of the White River Fire) = 2.9 hectares in size, lightning caused. 100% contained.

ONGOING FIRES OF NOTE:
• Island Pond Fire – still estimated at 35% contained. 79 personnel, heavy equipment and helicopters on it today. While crews continue to make progress, it is still an active fire and Evacuation Alert remains in place for the Island Pond to Premier Lake area (including the Premier Lake campground).
• White River Fire (up the Middle Fork past Whiteswan) – still estimated at 1226 hectares. No threats to communities or structures at this time. 10 personnel, 2 pieces of heavy equipment and 1 helicopter are on that fire today. Work is focused on guarding.
• Verdant Creek Fire (Kootenay National Park) – Estimated at 13,000+ hectares. Highway 93 South through Kootenay National Park continues to be affected by wildfire, smoke and fire suppression activities and may be subject to temporary closures to ensure the safety of the public. Check http://www.DriveBC.ca and www.alberta511.ca for possible temporary closures, alternate routes and the most up-to-date information.

Other:
• There is a chance that isolated thunderstorms could develop again today (like they did yesterday) through the afternoon and evening. If they do form, they could bring dry lightning and limited precipitation.
• Air Quality Advisory remains in place. The smoke is not all from local fires…much of it is from fires in the Cariboo and Kamloops region.  It is expected to remain very smoky across the East Kootenay for at least another day or two.
• Highways – travel is recommended on 93S from Radium to Castle Junction between 9am and 2pm daily.  Road could close at any time due to smoke, wildfire or fire suppression activities. Check http://www.drivebc.ca or www.alberta511.ca before you go

I will be sending out another update this evening. If something significant changes between now and then, it will be sent earlier.

If you see a fire, call *5555 or 1-800-663-5555 to report it.

Tuesday, August 8/17 - New Fires Sparked Across EK

There were 4 fire starts in the Moyie area last night due to lightning -- NONE are threatening communities or structures at this time and ALL are being actioned by the BC Wildfire Service.

  • Lamb Creek - 5ha in size.
  • Moyie Mountain - 4 hectares
  • Barkshanty Forest Service Road - 0.03 hectares (no growth overnight)
  • Sunrise Creek - 0.01 hectares (no growth overnight)

The fire in the Grasmere area near Fitzpatrick Road and Highway 93 (on the Highway side) is estimated at 2 hectares. They are hitting it hard this morning as well.

Certain parts of the East Kootenay did see quite a bit of lightning last night and the BC Wildfire Service has planes in the air as we speak doing assessments and looking for any new starts.

GREAT JOB to all who reported the fires last night. Reminder if you see a fire start/smoke plume, call *5555 from your cell or 1-800-663-5555. Early reporting is key!

We will have another update at 12:30 AM that will include information on our other ongoing fires: Island Pond, White River and Verdant Creek.

Sunday August 6/17 - Updated: 5:46PM - No Significant Change

There is no significant change to report on the fire front. 

The Island Pond Fire remains 35% contained at 1151 hectares (estimated) in size. Working on Island Pond today they have:
• 73 personnel
• 3 helicopters
• 8 pieces of heavy equipment
• Air tankers and skimmers (as smoke conditions allow)
They are continuing to work on guarding in the north end of the fire and are reinforcing all other established guarding.  The controlled burn yesterday was successful along the east flank of the fire.

Depending on where you are in the region, you may have seen some lightning last night as we did have isolated thunderstorms develop.  These thunderstorms brought lightning, some wind, and in some areas, some rain.  So far the SE Fire Centre does not have any new fire starts to report.  A reminder if you see a plume of smoke (or a fire), please report it.  Early detection is so important.  The numbers to call are *5555 from a cell or 1-800-663-5555.

Highway 93S (the portion from Radium to Castle Junction) has re-opened.  It may be closed again with little or no notice as they are still battling the Verdant Creek Wildfire.  Winds have brought the southwest part of the fire closer to the road, and carried burning embers, resulting in spot fires on the west side. Parks Canada continues to work to contain these spot fires with crews and helicopters bucketing.   The north part of the fire has not grown in size and remains on the West side of the Continental Divide.  Crews are working directly on the fire’s edge on the North to suppress the fire.   Please check http://www.drivebc.ca or www.alberta511.ca for the latest status on the highway along with alternate routes, etc. 

The White River Fire remains active in remote area up the Middle Fork (well past Whiteswan).  The Middle Fork Forest Service Road is closed at the 45.5km mark.  On that fire today, they have:
• 8 firefighters
• 1 helicopters
• 2 heavy equipment
It is not threatening any communities or structures and is burning in a remote area. If conditions permit, they were hoping to do a controlled burn on that fire Sunday afternoon, which would create an increase in visible smoke over that fire.

The Air Quality Advisory remains in place. It will be really smoky again in some areas, and may clear a bit today in others; however, the smoky conditions are expected to stick around for some time yet.

Next update the afternoon of Monday, August 7 unless there is a significant change.

Increased Smoke Possible Over Island Pond Fire today (posted: Aug 5/17 11:54AM)

ncreased Smoke Possible Over Island Pond Fire Today (posted: Aug 5/17 11:50AM)

The BC Wildfire Service is hoping to conduct a controlled burn on the east flank of Island Pond fire today. We do expect it could generate a lot of smoke – so if you see the smoke / plume increase this afternoon, we wanted to reassure you it is part of their planned controlled burn.

• The estimated fire size has not changed

• The fire is now estimated to be 35% contained.

• They have the full set of resources on the fire again today: 67 firefighters, 3 helicopters, 8 pieces of heavy equipment.

• They are reinforcing guards along the south flank; however, much of the focus today will be in the north and east sides as they continue to work on guarding there.

Highway 93S remains closed at this time between Radium and Castle Junction. Please visit http://www.drivebc.ca or www.alberta511.ca to check on the status of that closure. There is an alternate route through Golden open at this time and again, we recommend checking those online resources to see if there are any delays/temporary closures on that detour route.

Evening Update: Island Pond Fire and More (Posted: Aug 4/17 10:47 PM)

There were 76 personnel, 8 pieces of heavy equipment, 3 helicopters and the air tankers/skimmers working on the Island Pond fire today. The fire continued to be more active on the north side today and the efforts both on the ground and by air (when the smoke clears enough to allow them to fly) are focused on putting a guard in around the perimeter of the fire and reinforcing the guard they’ve completed. That work will continue over the weekend. If conditions permit, tomorrow they will be doing some controlled burning along the EAST side of the fire. They will only do it if conditions permit and, if they do, you may see an increase in smoke. We wanted to give you the heads up now, so that you were prepared and informed in case you see some additional smoke tomorrow.

It is still estimated at 1100 hectares and approximately 25% contained.

We can expect the smoky conditions to stick around for a while longer as the massive fires in the Cariboo/Kamloops region continue to send smoke our way in addition to local fires like the Island Pond, White River and Verdant Creek.

The Verdant Creek Fire fired up a bit today, prompting the closure of Highway 93S from Radium to Castle Junction. Parks Canada reports that the closure is due to increased fire activity on the southwest side of the fire. They will continue to monitor the situation and open the road as soon as it is safe to do so. Check http://www.DriveBC.ca and www.alberta511.ca for alternate routes and the most up-to-date information. Visit http://www.parkscanada.gc.ca to view more about the fire and associated closures in the park.

Highway 3 has reopened to two way traffic after being closed and then reduced to single lane alternating earlier following a collision.

Another hot, dry weekend is in the forecast. A reminder that if you see a fire (or plume of smoke), call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 (from a cell) to report it.

A few other tidbits:

• Off Road Vehicle Prohibition in Place for entire SE Fire District CLICK HERE for details
• The Evacuation Alert for the Island Pond/Premier Lake area remains in effect
• The fire is still estimated at being 25% contained
• The information line (250-426-2188 or 1-855-346-2188) will be updated daily over the weekend – even if we are not answering in person, the message will be updated daily (more if there is news to report)

Quick Update on East Kootenay Fires of Note (posted: Aug 4/17 11:59PM)

On the fire front, the Island Pond Fire has 76 personnel on it right now, 3 helicopters, 8 pieces of heavy equipment working on guarding, focussing on the north flank of the fire today.  There are also air tankers/skimmers back on the fire and they are focussing on dropping water and retardant to reinforce the existing guard lines, including the S and SE flank.  Evacuation alert remains in place.

I’m hoping to have a map to share with you later today!

Fire is sized at 1,100 hectares (after more accurate mapping).

They are getting some heavy equipment on the White River Fire and are currently working on a strategy for guarding.

An Air Quality Advisory is in effect. Smoke is expected to be heavy in places throughout the region today.  A reminder that it will likely be windier today and there could be gusting winds this afternoon.

I’ll have a more comprehensive update a bit later this afternoon. Those are the highlights for now.

Quick Update on East Kootenay Fires of Note (posted: Aug 3/17 2PM)

Island Pond Fire:

• The south flank of the Island Pond Fire has been solidly guarded.
• The north flank of the fire is currently the active flank.  It is still estimated at 25% contained and the size remains estimated at 1150 Hectares.
• They have 66 personnel, 3 helicopters, 7 pieces of equipment on it today.
• There is a structural protection assessment unit on the ground today doing pro-active assessments in the alert area to ensure they have the most up-to-date data on what is on the ground (structures, water sources, etc) so that additional resources could be effectively and efficiently rolled out in the event that the situation worsened. This is a routine information gathering process 

White River Fire:

• It has been re-estimated at 1226 hectares in size. Keep in mind, the heavy smoke continues to make it difficult to get an accurate assessment on the size of the fire, so it doesn’t mean the fire has grown that much overnight.
• The fire is burning in a remote area and is not threatening any communities or structures

General:

Highways are all still open.

Next update: later this afternoon.

Crews Make Progress on Island Pond Fire (posted: August 2/17 @ 12:34 PM)

The Island Pond Fire did experience some wind overnight but the majority of the machine and retardant guard held. The crews worked on the ground all night last night.

They are estimating the fire to be 25% contained. Today they have:
• 64 personnel
• 5 pieces of equipment
• 3 helicopters
Air tankers are working the fire again today as well. The fire is still estimated at 1150 hectares. They are going to be up mapping it again today and are hoping to get a good size reading as smoke conditions permit. The Highway near Island Pond is still single lane alternating traffic and the next update is expected around 4pm. Elsewhere, the highway through the Park between Radium and Castle Junction remains closed. The detour through Golden is currently open to single lane alternating traffic. You can expect lengthy delays and I recommend checking http://www.drivebc.ca for the latest updates as I will be tied up this afternoon and won’t be sending another update until early this evening unless there is significant change. The smoke is expected to continue for the next couple of days at least and the Air Quality Advisory remains in effect. The smoke is not just from local fires – it’s also from the west and south of the border. Overnight inversions could continue to push the smoke down into the valley this week as well. That is the update for now. Unless there is significant change, the next update will be this evening EVENING UPDATE: Island Pond Fire (posted: Aug 1/17 @ 6:00 PM)

The fire is now estimated at 1150 hectares. The south and southeast flanks of the fire are currently holding well with machine guarding and air support – as they’ve laid down both water and retardant again today. They have also done some machine guarding from the south to the east flank today and are continuing those efforts.

The fire is more active currently on the northeast side and that area will be their next focus for guarding.

The evacuation alert remains in effect for the 51 residences between Island Pond and the north end of Premier along with the campground at Premier Lake.

The smoky conditions are expected to continue and it could remain windy or gusty though tomorrow.

New Estimate on Fire Size After Fly Over (posted: August 1/17)

There was a lot of smoke over the fire yesterday which made it difficult to get an idea of the growth of the fire. The BC Wildfire Service flew it this morning – they are now estimating the size to be 650 hectares. Some of that growth occurred yesterday, they were not able to fly the fire due to smoke to get an updated estimate beyond the 150 hectares.

They have 40 personnel on it, 1 helicopter, air tanker support, 5 pieces of heavy equipment, and have some machine guard and retardant guard on the south flank.

The evacuation alert remains in place for the Island Pond to north end of Premier Lake (including the campground).

Next update will be this afternoon (approx 3 PM).

Evacuation Alert Issued for Island Pond / Premier Lake Area (posted: July 31/17)

A precautionary evacuation ALERT has been issued for 51 properties in the Island Pond / Premier Lake area as a wildfire continues to burn between Skookumchuck and Canal Flats. CLICK HERE FOR MAP OF EVAC ALERT AREA.

“An evacuation alert informs residents of the threat of a potential or impending danger. It is intended to give people time to gather things and prepare themselves so that they are ready to go should the situation worsen and an Evacuation Order be issued,” explains Information Officer Loree Duczek. “We encourage people within the evacuation alert area to put together important papers (like insurance papers), medications, valuables, supplies for children and pets, and other important items so that in the event things progress and they are asked to evacuate, they are ready to go.”

The fire, which was sparked yesterday when a tree fell on a powerline, is currently estimated at 150 hectares in size and is being actively actioned by the BC Wildfire Service both by ground and air.

In addition to the residential properties, the Provincial Campground at Premier Lake is included in the evacuation alert area.  “If people plan to move RV trailers or boats, the alert stage is the time to do that. If an evacuation order is issued, there is no time to allow that to happen.”

“We need to stress that at this time, we have only issued an alert and it is a great time to take steps to be prepared.”

An information line has been set up at 250-426-2188 or toll free 1-855-346-2188. For more information on the stages of evacuation and tips on how to prepare in the event of emergencies, visit http://www.rdek.bc.ca
. For the latest status of wildfires, visit http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status

Highway Closed Between Canal Flats and Skookumchuck Due to Grassfire (updated: July 30/17)

The Highway is closed between Canal Flats and Skookumchuck due to a grassfire that has sparked after a tree hit a powerline. The fire is now estimated at 80 hectares in size.

The SE Fire Centre has air tanker and helicopters on it from the air along with 27 personnel and heavy equipment.

No word on when the highway will reopen.

Middle Fork Fire Update (east of Fairmont) and General update (posted: July 30.17)

There is a fire of note to mention that will be more visible to those of you in the Columbia Valley.  Its located on the Middle Fork of the White River approximately 40km  east of Fairmont as the crow flies.  The fire was discovered within the last day or two and was originally estimated at 70Ha and is burning towards an old fire from 2003. It has been generating quite a bit of smoke, and this morning the smoke cleared enough that they were able to fly it and get a better sense of the true size.  It is now estimated to be 280 hectares.  They have a unit crew on it and it’s burning in a remote area well away from communities/structures.  They have closed the Middle Fork Forest Service Road at the 45.5km mark to protect public safety.

There are just over 30 fires burning in the SE Fire Centre, but there are no other fires of note in our region presently.  The Ward/Bloom Fire west of the Koocanusa area has not shown significant growth and is being held.

On the weather front, it is hot and dry for the next few days.  It could be windy this afternoon, settling down tonight and we could see the smoke from fires in the Cariboo/Kamloops and Northern Washington blow in and settle into the valley bottoms (especially overnights).  There is a slight chance of isolated thunderstorms/lightning along the Rockies into Tuesday but no foreseeable rain in our forecast.

General Weather / Fire Update (posted: July 27/17)

There will likely be some unsettled conditions this afternoon into this evening with the chance of a few convective cells (isolated thunderstoms) developing across the region. If those thunderstorms do develop, there will likely be gusty winds with them. There is a possibility of dry lightning across the East Kootenay as well, and it will likely be a little windier overall into tonight. Things should settle out by tomorrow and it looks like another sunny weekend ahead.

The Bloom / Ward Fire in the Koocanusa area is currently at about 39 hectares and today they have 36 personnel and 1 helicopter working on it. No communities or structures are threatened at this time.

There is some smoke blowing into the region from the fires in the Cariboo and Kamloops region as those fires are producing more smoke in the past 24 hours.

While there are still a number of smaller fires burning in the SE Fire zone, none are of concern at this time. To view more, visit the BC Wildfire website.

New Fire - Lower Loom Creek (west of Koocanusa) Posted: 7:06 PM July 25/17

There is a new fire this afternoon located approximately 27km west of Koocanusa in Lower Loom Creek.  It is approximately 15 Hectares in size and is not currently threatening structures or communities. The SE Fire Centre currently has two air tankers responding along with an Initial Attack crew and Officer.

The smoke plume may be visible in the Baynes Lake / Koocanusa area and you’ll potentially see the air tankers if you are in that area.

Quick Update on East Kootenay Fires (posted: July 25/17 4:00 PM)

The Shepp Creek Fire (35+km east of Elko) that was burning in a remote area of the Flathead is essentially out.  There are 8 BC Wildfire firefighters continuing to mop up hot spots, but it is WELL in hand.

This afternoon, a fifth wheel trailer caught fire while being driven on Newgate Road (in the South Country/Lake Koocanusa area).  The driver was able to stop and detach the trailer from the vehicle. The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) responded immediately with helicopter support and the Baynes Lake Fire Department responded to provide assistance to the BCWS. Big props go out to the campers and residents in the area who immediately took action and had the fire well in hand before crews arrived.

I’ve attached a photo of our Baynes Lake firefighters putting some water on the wreckage. The trailer is a total loss; however this is another example where things could have been much worse given the tinder dry conditions.  Great work by everyone and a big thanks to all involved!

The weather forecast continues to call for hot, dry conditions across the entire East Kootenay region so we will all need to remain vigilant in preventing fires and reporting if we see smoke or flame.  A reminder that the numbers to call are *5555 from a cellphone or toll free 1-800-663-5555.

Lightning and Gusty Winds in Forecast for Tonight and into Tomorrow (posted: July 23.17 1:50 PM)

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for our region today a cold front develops over the Cariboo this afternoon and sweeps southeast across the southern interior late this afternoon and evening.

Isolated thunderstorms are expected to develop across the Columbia and Kootenay regions this afternoon and evening. Brief showers with strong gusts to 80 km/h are possible near thunderstorms, particularly in the Kootenays.

The special air quality statement remains in effect as we could still experience local smoky conditions due to fires in other parts of Central BC.

Small lighning Caused Fire in Remote Area of Flathead / General Update (posted: July 20/17 12:55 PM)

A small lightning caused fire is burning in a remote area in the Flathead approximately 35km east of Elko. The fire is about 5 hectares in size and is being actioned by two initial attack crews and 1 helicopter.

Dry lightning is expected to continue across the region through the remainder of today and into tonight as the system moves through the region. While some areas have received small amounts of isolated rain, we have not received any widespread rainfall. Gusty winds will likely continue into tonight.

The smoky conditions are expected to return later tonight and into tomorrow as the winds shift from SW to NW -- bringing with them smoke from the Cariboo/Kamloops region. It could become quite smoky by tomorrow.

Smoky Skies Expected to Continue (posted: July 19/17 1:00 PM)

We could see some relief from the smoky skies tomorrow; however, the Smoky Skies Bulletin remains in place as smoky conditions are expected to return Friday as the winds shift again and carry in smoke from the Cariboo and Kamloops areas.

We are expecting a small system to move across the East Kootenay tomorrow with gusty winds, the possibility of dry lightning and possible isolated thundershowers.  No real rain accumulations are forecasted and the system will move out by Friday.  Through the weekend it is expected to be hot and dry.

There are NO FIRES OF NOTE in the SE Fire Centre.  Early reporting will be our biggest asset.  If you see a smoke plume of fire, please report it immediately *5555 from a cell phone or 1-800-663-5555.

Smoky Skies from BC Fires/ Small Fire in Picture Valley Well in Hand (posted: July 18/17 1:06 PM)

There was a small fire discovered yesterday east of the Picture Valley Forest Service Road (south of Fenwick Road / west of Wardner-Fort Steele Road). The fire is very small (0.3 hectares) and there are 2 initial attack crews and a water truck on it. They have it well in hand and it’s not threatening any farms, campgrounds, structures or communities. It’s very well in hand and will have it fully extinguished later today.

The smoky skies that we have across the East Kootenay are the result of a shift in winds, which have pushed the smoke from fires in other parts of BC, including the Cariboo and Kamloops into our region. The smoky conditions will be sticking around our area for at least a couple of days, possibly longer.

A great resource to see where the smoke is coming from is the Smoke Forecast website: http://firesmoke.ca/forecasts/BSC00WC04/current/

There are currently no wildfires of concern in our region (there are a few small fires in the Southeast District, but none threatening structures/communities or that are considered fires of note by the SE Fire Centre).

LET'S KEEP IT THAT WAY -- please be smart. Obey the fire bans and use common sense out there. And, if you see smoke, please report it. Our best chance of stopping a serious situation is if the Wildfire Service can get on any new starts quickly. To report a fire from a cellphone, call *5555

Nature Conservancy Canada - Closes Several East Kootenay Properties to Recreational Access Due to Fire Risk - Updated July 18/17

In response to the extreme fire situation in British Columbia, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is suspending public recreational access to all its lands in the province. This is a precautionary measure in order to minimize the chance of human-caused wildfires and to contribute to public safety.

In the East Kootenay, this impacts:

  • Mount Broadwood and Ancient Cottonwood Trail in Fernie
  • Kootenay River Ranch in Canal Flats
  • Lot 48, Marion Creek Benchlands and Dutch Creek Hoodoos Conservation area in Fairmont
  • Luxor Linkage in Edgewater

CLICK HERE to view the full release.

Please respect these closures and continue to be safe out there.

Air Quality Statement in Place for Entire East Kootenay  - Updated: July 11/17 1:02 PM

Environment Canada and the BC Ministry of Environment have issued a special air quality statement issued for:
   East Kootenay, B.C. (084500)
   Elk Valley, B.C. (084600)
   East Columbia, B.C. (085500)
   Yoho Park - Kootenay Park, B.C. (085600)

Current details:
Smoke is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility. Smoke is expected or occurring.  The Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the Interior Health Authority, has issued a Smoky Skies Bulletin nfor Kinbasket, North Columbia, West Columbia, East Columbia, Yoho Park - Kootenay Park, East Kootenay, West Kootenay, Elk Valley, Kootenay Lake, Arrow Lakes - Slocan Lake, Boundary, the Cariboo, Chilcotin, North Thompson, South Thompson, Shuswap, Okanagan, Similkameen, Fraser Canyon and Nicola regions, because of forest fire smoke that is covering the area.

Smoke concentrations will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change.

Avoid strenuous outdoor activities. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider: difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart disease.

2017 Fire Season Preparedness Links:

Being prepared BEFORE an emergency happens is critical.  Here are some great resources to help you and your family be aware of the stages of evacuation, some of the basics related to personal preparedness and more.

Helpful Links:

Local Wildfire Information
Road Closures / Conditions
Campfire Ban / Restrictions
BC Parks Closures / Info
Air Quality
Smoke Forecast
Last edited: Thu, August 17, 2017 - 4:08:37