Slocan Park wildfire evacuation alert remains in place
The Slocan Park wildfire in the Slocan Valley continues to be one of the higher priority fires in the province Fire Information Officer Noelle Kekula told The Nelson Daily Thursday.
“We’re not out of the woods yet on this fire so the evacuation alert remains in affect,” Kekula said.
“You can see the fire from the (Slocan Park) community and who knows, it could choose to run down the valley because the forest is so dry out there and the high temperature and low RH (relative humidity),” Kekula added.
Kekula said the Slocan Park wildfire, started by lightning that ripped through the area Saturday, remains at 120 hectares with zero containment.
There are currently 60 firefighters on the ground fighting the blaze with air assistance of seven helicopters.
“The fire is trying to creep to the north with a little bit on an east flare so we’re trying to keep the fire from spreading from the air,” Kekula explained, adding there is no heavy equipment currently working on the ground on this wildfire.
Thursday the provincial incident management team arrived on the scene.
The steep terrain has forced officials to have ground crews build trails into areas on the mountain where helipads can be constructed to gain access to the southeast and west flanks of the fire.
“Really our priority is life and property and reducing the impact the fire may have on domestic water supply,” Kekula said.
The area of the evacuation alert covers addresses from 2826 to 3024 on Highway 6 which affects more than 40 homes.
Residents should have some belongings packed and be ready to vacate the area if need be.
Residents with livestock have been asked to move animals to a safe location.
The other fire of concern in the region is the Fennell Creek fire located 8.5 kilometers east of Silverton.
The fire has grown to approximately 100 hectares, is holding steady as it’s burning in a drainage against a rocky area.
Currently no crews are working on the Fennell Creek fire due to steep slopes and heavy winds.
In the past week, the Southeast Fire Centre has responded to 84 new lightning-caused fires.
The vast majority of these fires have been small and many are already contained.
Along with the Slocan Park wildfire, Southeast Fire Centre is concerned with the Whitetail Brook fire eight kilometres east of Canal Flats.
The wildfire is estimated at 1,700 hectares but 50 percent contained.
There are currently 110 firefighters and six helicopters working on this fire. Area Restriction Orders are in effect for areas surrounding the fire.
With hot and dry conditions forecast through next week and the potential for more thunderstorms on the weekend, the Southeast Fire Centre is urging the public to be extra cautious in the backcountry.
All person-caused fires are preventable and these incidents may affect the ability of the firefighting crews to respond to naturally occurring fires.
The fire danger rating in the majority of the Southeast Fire Centre is currently “high”, with large areas of “extreme” fire danger in the East Kootenay, West Kootenay, Revelstoke and Boundary regions.
Considering the hot and dry weather experienced over the past few weeks, these conditions mean that forest fuels are very dry and the risk of fire is serious.
On Tuesday, (August 5), a campfire prohibition went into effect throughout the entire fire centre to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety.
For updated information on the Slocan Park Fire Evacuation Alert, please visit the Regional District of Central Kootenay.
To report a wildfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.
Check out the website for latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories.