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Ignition fire next step in attempt to control Trozzo Creek wildfire

The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) will be setting a 50-hectare ignition fire to remove unburned fuel in the path of the Trozzo Creek wildfire, the Southeast Fire Centre announced in a communication Tuesday morning.

In order to contain and diminish the wildfire burning northeast of Winlaw another fire will be set.

The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) will be setting a 50-hectare ignition fire to remove unburned fuel in the path of the Trozzo Creek wildfire, the Southeast Fire Centre announced in a communication Tuesday morning.

The fire will be set at the five km. mark on the Trozzo Forest Service Road, likely adding more smoke to the skies from Winlaw to Slocan, and drifting into Nelson.

The centre could not confirm the precise date of the start of the ignition since it will depend on weather and site conditions.

“Burning will proceed only if conditions are suitable,” the centre stated. “Due to steep and unstable terrain in this area, BCWS personnel have determined that a planned ignition is the most favourable tactic to gain control and maintain an appropriate safety margin for firefighters while removing fuel that lies between containment lines and the advancing fire.”

Hand torches will be used to carry out the planned ignition on the site — which is reportedly contained by a machine guard, retardant line and the forest service road itself.

“Hose-lay systems and helicopters with bucketing capacity will support the safe execution of this planned ignition,” the communication explained. “Given the aggressive behaviour that we’ve seen on many wildfires, there is a potential for escaped fires, but that potential would also exist if the BC Wildfire Service did not conduct these planned ignitions.” 

There are safety protocols and strategies in place while conducting the operation to minimize the risk of the planned ignition growing beyond the intended area.

Backcountry blockage

Out-of-control wildfires continue to endanger property, forest and cramp the style of West Kootenay residents.

A section of the Great Northern Trail above Nelson has been closed to motorized use as of Tuesday, joining several other backcountry areas that are being closed as the threat of “extreme” burning wildfires edges closer.

A 22-kilometre stretch of the trail from Hall Creek (north of Ymir) to south of Salmo has been closed to motorized use — but is still open to foot (and paw) traffic. Under normal conditions, use by off-road recreational vehicles is allowed on this portion of the trail, said RDCK general manager of Community Services, Joe Chirico, in a press release.

“Due to the current extreme wildfire risk facing much of the province, we are closing this portion of the trail to off-road and motorized vehicles until further notice,” he said. “Vehicles of all kinds can spark fires for a number of reasons, and this is one step we can take to help keep our trails and communities safe.”

Signs indicating the closures have been posted at trail access points, Chirico said.

Around Nelson the recreational areas of Sasquatch Lake (eight kilometres north of Winlaw), Crusader Cabin and Six Mile Lakes have been closed due to various wildfires burning in the area.

As well, the Sphinx Mountain trail (Crawford Bay), Jumbo Pass trail (Kaslo), Crusader Creek trails (Slocan) and the Slocan Valley Rail Trail from Appledale to Lemon Creek are closed for the same reason.

Closed for business

• People can view a map of the trail and its closed areas here: https://www.trailforks.com/trails/nelson-salmo-great-northern-trail-the-great-trail/

• For up-to-date information about the status of other regional parks and trails, visit:

www.rdck.ca/EN/main/services/parks.html.

Burning ban

As of Friday category three and category two open burning — as defined in the Wildfire Regulation — is prohibited throughout the Southeast Fire Centre, which includes Nelson and the Slocan Valley.

Campfires are also prohibited throughout the province.

In addition, the following activities are also prohibited: the use of fireworks, sky lanterns, burn barrels or burn cages of any size or description, binary exploding targets, tiki and similar kinds of torches, chimineas and outdoor stoves or other portable campfire apparatus without a CSA or ULC rating.

The prohibition will remain until Oct. 9 unless the order is rescinded sooner.

By the numbers 

• Wildfires currently burning in B.C.: 258

• Since April 1, 2021: 1,216 wildfires with 414,262.04 hectares burned

• Active fires by fire centre: Southeast: 648; Kamloops: 92; Prince George: 48; Cariboo: 39; Coastal: 7; Northwest: 4

• Firefighters and other personnel currently fighting the fires: 3,278

• Out-of-province firefighters: 72

• Helicopters and planes supporting ground crews: 198

• Evacuation orders: 58

• Number of properties on order: 4,260 (-143) 

• Evacuation alerts: 83 (+2)

• Number of properties on alert: 17,684 (+195)  

Supports available

There is help available to people affected by wildfire in the Southeast and across the province. Some of the resources are listed below:

• Information about private home insurance and private insurance claims related to wildfire:

http://www.ibc.ca/qc/disaster/bcwildfire 
• For information on how to report a claim related to wildfire damage through ICBC: 

https://www.icbc.com/claims/report-view/Pages/Report-a-claim-online.aspx 

• For information on BC Hydro bill help for British Columbians who are evacuated: 
https://app.bchydro.com/accounts-billing/evacuee-help.html?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=redirect&utm_content=evacueehelp 

• For information on programs to help those impacted by seasonal emergencies and disasters:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/emergency-response-and-recovery/recovery-programs#individual
• For information for farms/livestock producers, including the livestock relocation program: 
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/business-market-development/emergency-management 

• First Nations support:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/emergency-response-and-recovery/recovery-programs#nation

• Business and agriculture recovery programs: 

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/emergency-response-and-recovery/recovery-programs#business

• Indirect business support: 

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/emergency-response-and-recovery/recovery-programs#indirect

• To register for Emergency Support Services: https://ess.gov.bc.ca/

Source: Province of BC