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

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Further, the evacuation alert previously in effect for Brooklyn and south-east to Shields Point was rescinded.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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Syringa Creek fire. (Stefanie Harron photo)

Syringa Creek fire. (Stefanie Harron photo)

Syringa Creek fire. (Stefanie Harron photo)

Syringa Creek fire. (Stefanie Harron photo)

Just Posted

Twenty-three B.C. mayors have asked Premier John Horgan to enshrine five pillars of action that give natural resource development a key role in B.C.’s post-pandemic economic recovery plan. (Williams Lake Tribune file photo)
Castlegar mayor joins group asking for key role for resource development in pandemic recovery plan

23 leaders pen letter to premier, asking for inclusion in new policy discussions

Trail's Silver City Days is cancelled this year
Guy Bertrand photo
Silver City Days – cancelled

With pandemic uncertainty still looming, Trail council scuttled plans for 2021 Silver City Days

Teacher Casey Stowe and Principal Wendy Cutler from Twin Rivers Elementary with the donation. Photo: submitted
Castlegar school receives $2000 donation

Twin Rivers Elementary School will use the donation to enhance the school community.

Regional and local governments will eventually be required by the province to follow the BC Energy Step Code, which aims to reduce greenhouse gases from buildings. Some governments, now including the RDCK, have decided to phase it in voluntarily ahead of provincial deadlines. File photo
VIDEO: RDCK adopts Step 1 of provincial home energy efficiency plan

New buildings must comply with first level of the BC Energy Step Code

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

The grey region of this chart shows the growth of untraced infection, due to lack of information on potential sources. With added staff and reorganization, the gap is stabilized, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases

People now notified of test results by text message

COVID-19 signage outside the Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
UPDATE: 22 COVID cases in 14 days in Revelstoke

Interior Health is calling the increasing number of cases a community cluster

People wear face masks as they pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
How to tell family their Christmas gathering is too risky and you’re not going

Dr. Hurst says it’s best to frame the conversation from a place of care, stressing safety precautions.

Most Read