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Mother Nature helps slow growth of wildfires — Shambhala Music Festival good to go for Sunday night

A look from Kootenay Lake a look see that Kokanee Creek fire doesn't appear to have grown much overnight. — Photo Joy McAdams Facebook Bottom two photos are, top, McCormick Creek fire and Galena Bay fire.

The BC Wildfire Service is reporting a bit of good news with regards to the Kokanee Creek fire as the blaze did not register any “significant growth overnight.”

The wildfire that was sparked by lightning Saturday afternoon quickly increased to an estimated 70 hectares.

However, BC Wildfire Service said the fire remains zero percent contained as 21 firefighters with the assistance of one helicopter work some steep, difficult terrain to get the blaze under control.

“This fire did not experience any significant growth overnight,” the BC Wildfire Service said. “Additional crews are on route.”

The Regional District of Central Kootenay has continued an evacuation alert between Sitkum Creek and Crescent Bay, as a precautionary measure. People can learn more about the RDCK evacuation alert by calling 250 352-7701 or visiting the district's website.

Meanwhile, 20 kilometers southwest of Salmo and north of the Canada/USA border in the Pend O’reille area, the McCormick Creek is listed at 337 hectares.

The BC Wildfire Service said as a precautionary measure, the RDCK has issued an evacuation order for the McCormick Creek area and an evacuation alert for the Shambhala Music Festival.

The BC Wildfire Service said there are currently 24 firefighters with four helicopters battling the blaze. There are also 13 pieces of heavy equipment assisting.

“This fire did experience any significant growth overnight,” the BC Wildfire Service said.

“Crews continue focusing efforts on establishing guard. As of 9 a.m. this fire has received approximately 1.2 mm of precipitation.”

The McCormick Creek fire remains in “active” status.

The precipitation has allowed organizers at the Shambhala Music Festival to change its decision to shorten the event by a day.

“We have damp, cool weather that has downgraded the threat of the (McCormick Creek) fire moving toward the Salmo River Ranch property,” a release on the Shambhala Music Festival said.

“After hours of meetings and consultation this morning, the RDCK, other local government and a fire behavioural analyst, we have been approved for Shambhala Music Festival to remain open for our final (Sunday) night.”

“We invite all our guests to stay and celebrate with us for the final night of our 20th Annual Shambhala Music Festival,” the release said, adding some music acts might not continue as scheduled, but we will have a new schedule for this evening.

“This week has been an emotional roller coaster for us all, and we’re happy we can end SHAMBHALA 20 on this very positive note with you.”

Highway 6 from the junction at Highway 3 to the Nelway border crossing remains closed. Check DriveBC for updates.

Closer to Nelson, the Harrop Creek wildfire is now an estimated 2,136.0 hectares.

“Crews continue to build guard with the aid of heavy equipment and helicopters,” the BC Wildfire Service said.

“Crews work to continue to contain movement towards the north. An Australian Incident Management Team has arrived and is now in place.”

A contingent of 113 firefighters are on site battling the blaze along with four helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment.

The Harrop Mainline and East Harrop Mainline Forest Service Road is closed to the public to aid in fire suppression efforts and to keep the public safe.

The Harrop Creek fire continues to produce large amounts of smoke and will be highly visible in and around the West Arm of Kootenay Lake.

People with respiratory issues may wish to contact their health professionals.

Near Galena Bay north of Nakusp, the Galena wildfire is now estimated at 250 hectares in size.

Eleven firefighters and two pieces of heavy equipment are working on the west flank of this fire. Crews continue to put guard in and are working to widen existing guard in some areas.

This fire is highly visible to Highway 23 and, from the Galena Bay ferry landing and surrounding area.

More good news is Environment Canada is calling for precipitation into Sunday evening.

However, along with the moisture is a risk of a thunderstorm.

Tuesday forecast is for a mixed of sun and cloud with warmer temperatures expected mid-week and into the weekend.