BC Wildfire Service stepped up the attack on several lightning-caused fires in the West Kootenay Wednesday, sending in aerial assaults in an effort to halt the progress in the Southeast Fire Centre.
As many as seven fires continue to burn in the Slocan Valley near Winlaw following Monday’s thunder and lightning storm that passes through the region.
Wednesday, four ConAir Fire Boss planes could be seen from Highway 6 scooping up water from Slocan Lake before travelling back to drop 800 or so gallons of aqua on fires in the valley.
Helicopters with buckets of water could also be seen making round trips to fires located in the mountains after scooping water from Slocan River.
Airy Creek, Talbot Creek, Hird Creek and Trozzo Creek, all near Winlaw, are listed as "out of control" on the BC Wildfire Interactive Map, with the Talbot Creek fire the largest, which ballooned to 75 hectares overnight.
Mount Flynn fire up Koch Creek, the Perrys-Draw Creek fire and Watson Creek fire are now listed as under control.
All fires were caused by lightning.
North of Nelson, the Woodbury Creek fire near Kokanee Glacier increased in size Wednesday to 480 hectares.
Plumes of smoke could be seen rising above Kokanee Glacier from Nelson Wednesday afternoon.
The Woobury Creek fire, started by lightning Saturday, is the largest fire in the Nelson area.
RDKB continues evacuation alert near Beaverdell
Meanwhile the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary has continued its evacuation alert continues for approximately 110 people or 44 properties for now in the Boulder Road area four kilometres north of Beaverdell as BC Wildfire crews, heavy equipment and aircraft continue to work to contain the Solomon Mountain Wildfire - N61276 – which has burned 17.5 hectares.
The RDKB said these evacuation alerts mean residents must be ready to leave at a moment’s notice and could be followed by immediate orders to evacuate should conditions worsen or could be rescinded if conditions improve.
The BC Wildfire Service said crews are on-site at the Solomon Mountain Wildfire with the support of aerial resources and heavy equipment as required. The local fire department continues to provide support.
The BC Wildfire Service said there are three helicopters are being utilized to monitor and perform water bucketing as required to cool the fire and limit spread in support of crews on the ground.
Heavy equipment is being utilized to establish a machine guard, which is a containment line constructed by the front blade of a dozer, to support containment.
The BC Wildfire Service said good progress is being made on the priority flanks at this time.
Evacuation Order near Canal Flats
Also in the Southeast Fire Centre, several homes and recreational sites in the East Kootenay region of B.C. have been ordered to evacuate because of the Doctor Creek wildfire burning 25 kilometres southwest of Canal Flats.
The Regional District of East Kootenay issued an evacuation order Wednesday for properties west of Canal Flats after the Doctor Creek fire increased in size to 400 hectares.
However, the BC Wildfire Service said the fire is expected to grow as more accurate mapping becomes available.
A 20-person crew is currently on the ground fighting the Doctor Creek fire with additional equipment on its way.
The RDEK said there is an "immediate danger to life [and] safety" because of the Doctor Creek wildfire burning 25 kilometres southwest of Canal Flats.
The fire was discovered Tuesday and was last estimated at 400 hectares in size, but the B.C. Wildfire Service says the estimated size is expected to grow as more accurate mapping becomes available.
Environment Canada is calling for continued hot weather in the Nelson area, with temperatures in the high 20s or low 30s for the next few days.
The same is expected for the East Kootenay as the hot dry weather continues.
One of the four ConAir Fire Boss planes could be seen from Highway 6 scooping up water from Slocan Lake. — The Nelson Daily photo