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BC Wildfire Service keeps up aerial assault on Rover Creek blaze

Lone Sheep Publishing
By Lone Sheep Publishing
August 25th, 2022

BC Wildfire Service continued its aerial assault Wednesday on the Rover Creek (formerly known as 49 Creek) fire, adding more planes to the fight said Southeast Fire Centre Information office.

Five 802-F Fire Bosses water skimmers were joined by Air Tankers from Kamloops to assist the two CL-215T air tankers on loan from Alberta to battle the now 30-hectare blaze.

“Our fixed and rotary wing aviation resources have been instrumental this season (and on this incident) to cool fires and give ground personnel the time to get on scene and access the fire,” said the Southeast Fire Centre in an emailed statement.

“As for severity, fire behaviour on the Rover Creek (formerly known as 49 Creek) wildfire (N71860), has been observed at Rank 2 today, which is classified as a low vigour surface fire.”

BC Wildfire Service fire rankings are available at this link.

The 49 Creek wildfire, which increased from four hectares Tuesday evening to 30 hectares Wednesday, is in high terrain with a lack of access roads for ground crews. It's located approximately 11 kilometres southwest of Nelson and nine kilometres east of Playmor Junction.

After the wildfire was discovered in the mid-afternoon Tuesday, two air tankers from Alberta were brought in to fight the fire until darkness grounded the crew.

BC Wildfire Service added the Fire Bosses to the arsenal Wednesday along with AVRO-RJ85 tankers from Kamloops.

BC Wildfire Service is asking the public to avoid using the waters on Kootenay Lake north of Nelson to allow helicopter bucketing and skimming.

“In the interest air crew and public safety, people are urged to use common sense and keep their boats well away from areas where air tankers or helicopters are operating,” the BC Wildfire Service social media post said.

The two CL-215T air tankers were again attacking the Rover Creek wildfire Wednesday evening.

The CL-215T air tankers can scoop water from suitable water bodies and deliver long-term fire retardant from air tanker bases.

The plane has a cruise speed of 324 km/hr, and it carries 5455 litres in a two-door compartmentalized tank.

The air tanker can also inject Class A foam, which it carries in a 750-litre onboard tank, into the water load to make it more effective.

Alberta owns four CL-215T aircraft: the first came into service in the spring of 1986.

All four have recently have been converted from piston power plants to turbine power plants. These aircraft operate as a single group of four air tankers.

During the past week has been busy in the Southeast Fire Centre wit 101 fires detected.

The vast majority have been caused by lightning due to thunderstorms passing over the region.

Most of these new starts have been small spot fires in the Columbia, Arrow, Kootenay and Cranbrook zones of the Southeast Fire Centre.

Residents of Sproat Drive had the best view Wednesday evening of air tankers filling up on Kootenay Lake before heading to Rover Creek wildfire. 

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