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UPDATED: Slocan Park Wildfire slightly smaller than originally thought — 20 percent contained

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
August 13th, 2014

Fire crews completed the second half of a controlled burn on the Slocan Park Wildfire Wednesday said Southeast Fire Centre officials.

The second part of this controlled burn focued on the south flank.

Fire officials said the wildfire is 20 percent contained.

Officials at the Southeast Fire Centre said new data reveals the wildfire measuring 90 hectares instead of the 120 hectares originally estimated.

There are currently 91 firefighters working on the blaze, along with 17 support staff and nine helicopters.

Ground crews have constructed and completed all nine helipads are helping crews gain access to the fire.

The evacuation alert issued a week ago by the Regional District of Central Kootenay Emergency Centre remains in effect for residents between fire numbers 2826 to 3024 on Highway 6.

Fire crews use controlled burn to help contain Slocan Park wildfire

Fire crews completed half of a control burn Tuesday to help contain the Slocan Park wildfire Julie Castonguay, on-site Fire Information Officer for the Southeast Fire Centre, told The Nelson Daily Tuesday.

The controlled burn was necessary to help tidy up the southern flank of the fire by burning off small areas of timber within 50 metres of that line nearest Highway 6.

This burn increased visibility of smoke and flames.

 “The southern flank hadn’t changed much but was becoming raggedy and unsafe,” Castonguay said. “Crews accomplished what they had to do (Tuesday) and should complete the rest of the burn (Wednesday).”

The lightning started wildfire, based in a watershed above Slocan Park and approximately two kilometers to the northeast, continues to cover about 120 hectares.

Castonguay said the wildfire really hasn’t grown much since the blaze increased from a few hectares to its current coverage.

The result has enabled crews to increase containment status from zero to 20 percent.

“Containment will probably increase as the day progresses provided nothing changes in the weather or nothing dramtic happens,” Castonguay explained.

“The cooling temperature is exactly what we all needed, short of rain but the cooling of temperature is perfect and we’re pretty satisfied with that.”

Castonguay said an additional 30 contract firefighters have been brought in to assist the already 60-person crew, bringing the total to 90 firefighters.

The additional crews, joined in the air by eight helicopters and two pieces of heavy machinery on the ground, helped establish fire lines unit crews have been working to shore up.

Castonguay said the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) Evacuation Alert for residents of Slocan Park and Crescent Valley due to wildfire remains in effect.

The Evacuation Alert area covers from 2826 on Highway 6 to 3024 on Highway 6.

Environment Canada is calling for the risk of thunderstorms Wednesday followed by rain on the weekend.

Despite cooling temperatures, the Southeast Fire Centre continues to urge the public to be careful in the backcountry.

“All person-caused fires are preventable and may affect the ability of the firefighting crews to respond to naturally occurring fires,” the Southeast Fire Centre said.

To report a wildfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, go to: http://www.bcwildfire.ca

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