The BC Wildfire Service has lifted an area restriction around the Doctor Creek wildfire, as the nearly 80-square kilometre blaze near Canal Flats is now classified as being held.
By lifting the area restriction, it opens up Crown land to public access that had previously been closed due to fire suppression efforts.
However, while the area restriction has been lifted, it is still an active fire and work site, and anyone accessing the area should exercise caution, according to an info bulletin from the BC Wildfire Service. Fire officials still have the authority under the Wildfire Act to order anyone to leave the area.
“Before entering any area affected by a wildfire, members of the public should be aware that significant safety hazards may be present,” reads the bulletin. “Trees that have been damaged by fire might be unstable and could fall down. Ash pits can be hard to detect and can remain hot long after the flames have died down.”
Smoke from within the fire perimeter is expected to be visible from nearby communities for weeks. However, smoke seen from outside the fire perimeter should be reported immediately.
The fire,discovered in mid-August, is suspected to be lightning caused, and grew exponentially due to high winds and forest fuels in steep, rocky and remote terrain.
However, containment lines were built and large-scale burns were conducted, which brought the fire to within pre-determined boundaries.
Resources have been slowly demobilizing, but there are still 64 firefighters, two helicopters and eight pieces of heavy equipment working on site.