The Bulldog Mountain wildfire has prompted evacuation orders and alerts in the area north and west of Castlegar. Photo: BC Wildfire

Lightning sparks new fires in Castlegar area

New fire on outskirts of Trail too, while stubborn Syringa complex defies firefighters

A powerful storm front that moved through the West Kootenay sparked several new fires on Tuesday.

The storm brought a bit of rain, and even hail, but it was the lightning the caused headaches for firefighting officials.

The biggest trouble was in Trail, where a fire in the McQuarrie Creek area above the city’s hospital and high school had local and provincial fire crews busy.

The Southeast Fire Centre responded quickly to the fire, sending 25 ground crew, air tankers and helicopters to the scene. Local fire departments also responded. Locals watched the firefighting efforts from their homes, as the smoke and fire was easily visible from most of the community.

As of Wednesday morning, the fire was estimated to be one hectare.

The lightning storm also started two fires near Castlegar. A small fire was discovered at Cai Creek east of Castlegar in the Bonnington Range, and a new outbreak began at Coykendahl, south of the stubborn Bulldog Mountain fire on the west shore of Arrow Lakes, in the Syringa Fire Complex.

Renata evacuees can return

But with cooler evenings, lower daytime temperatures and a smattering of rain, fire crews are making progress. On Tuesday the Regional District of Central Kootenay downgraded the evacuation order for Renata to an alert.

This reduction to an alert means residents can return to their properties but must be prepared to leave should conditions change.

Further, the evacuation alert previously in effect for Brooklyn and south-east to Shields Point was rescinded.

“The BC Wildfire Service has advised that imminent danger to the life and property of persons due the Bulldog Mountain wildfire has diminished, so those who previously were required to evacuate can return home,” said Andrew Bellerby, the RDCK emergency operations centre director and regional fire chief.

The Bulldog Mountain wildfire is being managed as part of the Syringa Complex of fires. It was discovered on Aug. 11, and is suspected to have been caused by lightning. The fire is approximately 2,125 hectares in size. BC Wildfire is still actively responding to the fire with firefighting crews, aviation support and heavy equipment.

BC Wildfire has informed the RDCK that they have good control lines on the fire adjacent to Renata, but they still recommend an alert remain in place until rain arrives.

Syringa Creek

On the other side of the lake, the Syringa Creek wildfire continues to stubbornly resist firefighters. At nearly 3,200 hectares, the fire is only 25 per cent contained. Heavy timber and rough terrain is making firefighting difficult. The Southeast Fire Centre has 123 firefighters and 12 helicopters working the complex of fires, and on Monday started hand-burning part of the area to reduce the fire’s available fuel.

An evacuation alert remains in place for Syringa Provincial Park and southeast along Lower Arrow Lake to the Hugh Keenleyside Dam in Robson.

Deer Creek

North of Syringa Creek, the Deer Creek fire also continues to grow. Now at just under 4,050 hectares, the Southeast Fire Centre has 81 firefighters on the scene, building machine guards and mopping up and patrolling the southern flank.

Fire crews planned to begin small-scale hand ignition operations on Wednesday if conditions permitted.

 

Syringa Creek fire. (Stefanie Harron photo)

Syringa Creek fire. (Stefanie Harron photo)

Just Posted

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

RED resort announces new ski lift

Topping lift will add new ski area to resort, reduce bottleneck on Motherload chair

Update: Bodies recovered from Pend d’Oreille River crash

To help support the family, a fundraiser has been set up at Kootenay Savings in Fruitvale

Split council vote changes Castlegar infrastructure levy from five to seven years

Major industry will be seeing a tax increase over the next seven years as well.

South Okanagan-Kootenay MP calls federal budget ‘not bold enough’

Richard Cannings, MP for South OK and Kootenay communities says budget missed the mark

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

Woman punched on the sidelines of B.C. soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

Fraser Health under fire again for taxiing homeless man from Langley to Hope

Patient sent to Hope shelter because a spot in the man’s home community couldn’t be located

B.C. launches immunization program at schools to stamp out measles resurgence

Vaccination records to be checked at B.C. schools next fall

Most Read