More crews have been deployed to suppress the fire around steep and rocky terrain. Photo: BC Wildfire Service

Up to 138 firefighters now battling Talbott Creek Fire

People are advised to stay off the Slocan River with helicopters bucketing water to fight fire

Up to 138 firefighters are now fighting the 521-hectare Talbott Creek fire, which is burning approximately 3.6 kilometres northwest of Highway 6 in the Slocan Valley.

More than 32 additional firefighters arrived to suppress the fire around its northeastern flank this week.

“The fire line that they’ve been working on and the hand guards that they’ve been creating is around steep and rocky terrain. Crews haven’t been able to transport heavy equipment to these areas,” said Southeast Fire Centre information officer Roslyn Johnson.

“Because of this, crews have had to dig around the fire line with rakes and shovels and remove portions of the wood with chainsaws. The fire line has gotten into much steeper terrain and we’ve had to provide enough adequate resources.”

Burnoff operations have been conducted to help strip away all of the fuels around the fire line.

Fire sprinklers and hoses have also helped crews suppress the fire around the difficult terrain.

Firefighters will be suppressing other areas of the fire heading into the long weekend, according to Johnson.

“While the south, east and west corners of the fire have been established, crews plan to wrap around the north end of the fire to help suppress it,” said Johnson.

“The area is also quite steep and rocky, so they’re figuring out how to access the area safely and get firefighters on the fire line there.”

A temperature inversion with cooler air in the valley bottom and warmer air along ridge tops has also presented challenges for crews fighting the fire.

“From an operations standpoint, helicopters have had difficulty flying in the morning because of all smoke settling in the valley bottom,” said Johnson.

“At higher elevations, the fire has produced more smoke because of the better burning conditions.”

The inversion is expect to last for at least another couple days.

People are encouraged not to be using the Slocan River this weekend with helicopters grabbing water from it in buckets to fight the fire.

Eight helicopters and nine heavy equipment have been used to fight the fire this week.

An evacuation alert remains in place for 305 homes surrounding the fire.

This story was up to date as of 1:55 p.m. on Sept. 4.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Aaron Hill fire near Castlegar under control, Talbot Creek fire west of Winlaw doubles in size


@connortrembley
connor.trembley@castlegarnews.com

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