Massive blaze near Rossland draws air tankers, bucket chopper and 27 firefighters
All six Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue crews were called out to battle a blaze in the Big Sheep Valley Saturday, according to fire chief Terry Martin.
“We got the call at 6:03 p.m. on Saturday, that there was a wildfire at 5070 Cascade Road, just 25 kilometres west of Rossland,” Martin said. “We dispatched crews from Rossland and Trail right away, then called in Warfield when we saw it was a 2.5-hectare fire going up a very steep slope, just about 50 yards away from a home.”
He said they ultimately called in 27 firefighters, as well as requesting aid from Ministry of Forests, who brought in two air tankers and a bird dog.
“They probably dropped four or five loads each to put a perimeter around the top of the hill – our concern was that it would spread over the top of the hill and into the adjacent valley, where there are more structures and recreational properties,” Martin said.
Luckily, the wind was working with, rather than against fire crews.
“Ministry of Forests took possession of the fire at around 10 p.m. Saturday night, and that initial attack crew was relieved Sunday at about 10:30 a.m. by a new crew from Cranbrook, which was supported by a helicopter bucketing water from a local creek to drop on hidden hot spots,” Martin added. “They’re still down there right now, monitoring the site, but the rain today is helping ensure the fire is fully out.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it appears to be human-caused.