Forest fires in the region

Evacuation alerts have been lifted but the public must remain vigilant.

Staff Writer

Rossland News

Residents who have been living under an evacuation alert due to the Sitkum/Duhamel and Mt. Aylwin wildfires can breathe a little easier: the alerts have been lifted. The Sitkum fire is now 50 per cent contained.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay made the announcement based on a recommendation from the BC Wildfire Service.

The Sitkum alert, which affected about 350 homes in the Six Mile area near Nelson, was lifted thanks to rain and reduced fire activity today.

“Control lines above properties in the area have been established and reinforced, and these actions along with favourable weather and forecasts have significantly reduced the risk to public safety,” the BC Wildfire Service said.

An access restriction around the fire issued Thursday will remain in place until further notice, says Noelle Kekula of the wildfire centre.

Another evacuation alert affecting 35 people south of Silverton due to a fire at the base of Mount Aylwin was lifted on Tuesday.

Cooler temperatures and rain have helped cool the blaze and crews will be working towards mop up in the next few days, according to fire information officer Jordan Turner.

A  20-person unit crew from Revelstoke is working directly on the fire putting out hot spots.

“We believe the risk [to residents] is substantially reduced,” Turner said Tuesday morning, adding the alert was issued on Saturday as the fire was burning “quite hot and dry, and burning at night and was fairly intense”.

Another was near China Creek, three kilometers west of Castlegar, and was estimated at .8 hectares. Fire crews worked toward containment, and as of Wednesday morning the fire was out, with crews patrolling the site to make sure it didn’t start up again.

A third fire, this one estimated at .3 hectares, started near Nemo Creek, two kilometers off the west shore of Slocan Lake. Crews fought the fire over the weekend and as of Wednesday morning the fire was out.

And finally, there were four small fires across Low Arrow Lake from Deer Park. All four were out as of Wednesday morning, with one still being patrolled.