The Akokli Creek fire on the east shore of the south arm of Kootenay Lake on July 17. Photo: BC Wildfire Service

The Akokli Creek fire on the east shore of the south arm of Kootenay Lake on July 17. Photo: BC Wildfire Service

UPDATE: West Kootenay fires grow, with evacuation alerts and two evacuation orders

Details on Trozzo Creek, Akokli Creek, Octopus Creek and Michaud Creek, plus six others

As of the morning of July 20, there were four fires in the West Kootenay classified as “fires of note” by the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS).

Michaud Creek Wildfire

The Michaud Creek fire on the west side of Lower Arrow Lake is now 2,500 hectares in size.

“Fire behaviour has been mainly moderately vigorous surface fire, with pockets of highly vigorous as new fuel sources are found,” states a bulletin issued on July 19 by BCWS.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay has implemented an evacuation order for two properties in the Cinnamon Lake and Johnson Creek areas and an alert for a larger adjacent area including Edgewood.

There are also are restrictions in place for some areas in the vicinity of the fire.

Wildfires in the West Kootenay. Map: BC Wildfire Dashboard screenshot

Wildfires in the West Kootenay. Map: BC Wildfire Dashboard screenshot

Octopus Creek Wildfire

The Octopus Creek wildfire on the east side of Lower Arrow Lake has reached 2,940 hectares in size as of the morning of July 20.

“Aggressive fire behaviour continues to be observed and has expanded again on the east and west flanks. The fire has backed down to the shores on Lower Arrow Lake,” the BCWS bulletin states.

The RDCK has issued an evacuation order for five properties on the south side of Taite Creek, including the Taite Creek recreation site.

An evacuation alert for 162 properties is in place for the communities of Applegrove and Fauquier. There are also area restrictions in place for some areas in the vicinity of the fire.

“This morning (July 20) a unit crew is being moved into place at this fire,” the bulletin states. “If weather permits, a small planned ignition will take place to bring the fire down to the Octopus road in a strategic way to reinforce control lines. Aerial and heavy equipment resources will be on scene to support both the planned ignitions and suppression activities. Airtankers are currently on scene to lay down retardant to bolster control lines, skimmers are en route from Williams Lake and helicopters have begun bucketing activities and moving crews around. A machine-built control line (machine guard) will also be going in along Taite Creek.”

The fire is being fought by 21 firefighters, two helicopters, three pieces of heavy equipment and one air tanker.

Akokli Creek Wildfire

The Akokli Creek fire is located on the east side of the south arm of Kootenay Lake near Boswell, and is estimated to be 865 hectares in size.

“Fire behaviour is mostly a low vigour surface fire, with pockets of moderately vigorous surface fire as previously unburnt fuels are found,” a BCWS bulletin states. “Prevailing winds are currently pushing the fire upslope and away from homes, though slow westerly movement has been noted.”

The fire is being monitored by four firefighters and one helicopter in “steep and unworkable terrain” and plans are being made to bring in heavy equipment.

The RDCK has issued an evacuation alert for the communities of Boswell, Destiny Bay, and Sanca.

Trozzo Creek Wildfire

The Trozzo Creek fire near Winlaw is still out of control and is 742 hectares in size, according to a bulletin issued on July 20 by the BC Wildfire Service.

As of that date, the fire was being fought by 52 firefighters, three helicopters, and seven pieces of heavy equipment.

Reduced visibility was impacting the ability to determine the perimeter of the fire., and the number of hectares are expected to rise as accurate mapping is available.

Strong winds and steep terrain drove the fire up the Trozzo Creek drainage and north into the South Lemon Creek drainage.

“July 19 was a challenging day, as increased winds drove aggressive fire behaviour and caused the fire spot in four areas on the east flank,” the BCWS bulletin states.

“Significant helicopter bucketing action controlled three of the spots, however, one of the spots grew too quickly for crews or aviation resources to contain and it spread into the South Lemon Creek drainage.

“Existing containment lines to the west did hold, despite the very windy day. Today, crews and equipment will start building containment lines on the north side of the Trozzo Creek drainage and open roads into South Lemon Creek to access the areas of new growth. Equipment will keep extending the control line toward the southwest perimeter and ground crews are supporting these control lines with hose lay.”

The fire, started by lightning, was discovered July 9.

Other out-of control fires in the West Kootenay as of July 20.

The Cultus Creek Wildfire on the west side of the south arm of Kootenay Lake is estimated at 611 hectares in size. The RDCK has issued an evacuation alert for areas from south of Next Creek to north of Midge Creek.

The Redding Creek fire, at 131 hectares, is located northeast of Boswell.

The Mount Ruppel fire, located about 12 km southeast of Slocan, measures 360 hectares. There is combined area restriction for this fire and the Trozzo Creek fire, which can be viewed at http://ow.ly/t8uM50FznrG.

The Kimbol Creek fire, east of Nakusp, is 54 kilometres in size.

About 10 km west of Renata on the Lower Arrow Lake are two fires, Renata Creek (20 hectares) and Faith Creek (.11 hectares).



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

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