The Southeast Fire Centre's helicopters could be seen flying throughout the area

Kootenays on fire

Fire crews battle 139 new fires in the Southeast Fire Centre since Friday, August 14.

The Columbia River valley has been under a smokey haze for most of the past week, with 139 new fires in the Southeast Fire Centre since Friday, August 14.

On top of that the valley has been getting smoke from the fires down in Washington, and there were already a number of pre-existing fires, including one near Rossland at Big Sheep Creek.

So far this season, the centre has seen 559 wildfires, burning 10,954 hectares. Of those fires, 485 were lightning-caused and 74 were started by people.

Big Sheep Creek—discovered Wednesday, August 12

The fire at Big Sheep Creek, 10 k.m. west of Rossland, is lightning-caused. As of Wednesday morning it was estimated at 190 hectares and was 60 per cent contained. Thirty-three firefighters, five helicopters and two pieces of equipment were onsite.

There was also an area restriction placed on the Seven Summits trail on Saturday afternoon, due to the Big Sheep Creek fire. The trail is closed from where it intersects at the Old Cascade Highway to where it intersects with the top of the Red Mountain Resort until further notice.

Deer Creek Park—discovered Friday, August 14

The Deer Creek Park fire is lightning-caused and 30 k.m. northwest of Castlegar, north of Syringa Park. As of Wednesday morning, it was estimated at 1,100 hectares and was not at all contained. Luckily the fire is remote. Twenty-nine firefighters, two pieces of heavy equipment, and two helicopters were on site Wednesday.

Renata—discovered Friday, August 14

A lightning-caused fire is still burning 5.6 k.m. northwest of Renata. As of Wednesday morning it was 23 hectares and was 60 per cent contained, with 20 firefighters, two piece of heavy equipment, and two helicopters on site.

A bear was spotted near the Renata fire, which Karlie Shaughnessy, fire communications specialist at the Southeast Fire Centre, said is unusual, as they normally stay away from fires. The bear has since gone off and is no longer a concern.

Kelly Mountain—discovered Tuesday, August 18

The fire at Kelly Mountain, 6.5 k.m. northeast of Fruitvale, was in mop-up by Thursday, August 20 and being patrolled by Friday, August 21.

Hanna Creek—discovered Wednesday, August 19

The fire at Hanna Creek, 8 k.m. northwest of Trail, was estimated at 0.5 hectares the afternon of Thursday, August 20. By the following evening it was estimated at 0.64 hectares, but was 100 per cent contained and in mop-up, with nine BC Wildfire Service personnel and one helicopter on site. The fire went into patrol Sunday morning.

Tenderloin Creek—discovered Wednesday, August 19

The fire near Tenderloin Creek, 20 km south of Edgewood, was estimated at 50 hectares as of Wednesday morning, and was 100 per cent contained and in mop-up. Twenty-two firefighters, two pieces of heavy equipment, and two helicopters were on the scene.

 

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