With files from Sheri Regnier
The Rock Creek wildfire continues to burn out of control.
Now 3,750 hectares, the fire is considered zero per cent contained.
“At this point, it seems to be settling into a bit of a long term event,” said Alan Stanley, from the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Trail.
Evacuation orders were issued to 240 properties, and Highway 3 and Highway 33 remained closed throughout Friday.
The corridor section remains too dangerous to access so an aerial assessment of affected properties was made by helicopter Saturday, then cross referenced with maps, and matched with the RDKB’s ownership data base.
“At that point we knew the owners and cross referenced that with the evacuee registers,” explained Stanley. “That was the main way we tracked most of the people down to inform the homeowners of their situation.”
Thirty homes and 11 additional properties, most on Highway 33 west of Rock Creek, were destroyed by the fire that grew more than 2,000 hectares in 24 hours.
Despite continued efforts of air tankers and ground crews, the dry climate, high temperatures and wind gusts grew the wildfire to its current size, according to Fanny Bernard, from the Southeast Fire Centre.
Highway 3 re-opened Saturday night and 88 residents returned home Sunday. Evacuees from the Kettle River Provincial Park were transported back to the site that day, to gather belongings and vehicles before vacating the campground.
Over the next few days, aircraft including air tankers will be supporting ground crews as they continue to extend control lines near properties by establishing machine-guard and fuel-free areas.
The fire is under investigation though suspected to be human-caused.
For the latest information on current wildfire activity, visit bcwildfire.ca.