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Further, the evacuation alert previously in effect for Brooklyn and south-east to Shields Point was rescinded.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

Last stop: The inside story of Queen City Shuttle and Charters’ closure

Former employees open up about the Nelson company’s final days

How the Queen City Shuttle and Charters’ closure affected you

Here’s what readers had to say about the company’s shutdown

Craft cannabis development planned for Castlegar

Plans are underway for one of the first craft cannabis industrial parks in the province.

Andrew Bellerby out as RDCK’s regional fire chief

Bellerby held the job since January 2016

Castlegar already well on path to energy-wise future, says community activist

Eco-Society executive director asks council to take 100-per-cent-renewable-energy pledge

Rents in most Canadian cities are unaffordable for lower-income earners: study

Roughly one-third of households, or 4.7 million, are renters

B.C. mom to go to Europe court in hopes of getting alleged abducted daughter back

Tasha Brown alleges her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Scheer on Trump: It’s ‘offensive’ to question the family background of critics

Trump is being called a racist for saying that the four congresswomen should go back where they came from

Instagram expands Canadian pilot removing ‘like’ counts to more countries

Social media giant plans to roll out the test in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, Italy and Ireland

Pamela Anderson adds star power to B.C. Green Party town hall

Celebrity attended Nanaimo meeting with representatives from U.S.-based environmental group

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Most Read