An evacuation order for five properties near the Doctor Creek wildfire has been downgraded to an evacuation alert, according to an announcement from the Regional District of East Kootenay on Thursday morning.
The fire, approximately 25 kilometres southwest of Canal Flats, has grown up to nearly 8,000 hectares since it was discovered in mid-August, however, B.C. Wildfire Service crews and resources have been actively working to establish control lines in tough conditions.
“This is a great day and reflects the tireless efforts of the firefighters, pilots, contractors, equipment operators and personnel who’ve been working on the Doctor Creek Fire. We can’t thank them enough for their efforts,” says EK Emergency Management Program Information Officer Loree Duczek. “Having said that, residents need to understand that this remains a large and active fire. Those residents who are now on Evacuation Alert, need to stay prepared and ready to leave again on a moment’s notice should conditions change and an order needs to be re-issued.”
The fire, suspected to be lightning-caused, grew significantly over the last few weeks due to dry conditions and high winds.
While the evacuation order has been downgraded, a Provincial Area Restriction remains in place for crown land in the vicinity of the Doctor Creek fire.
“We recognize this area is a popular one for recreationalists and hunters; however, it is critically important that people respect the Area Restriction and stay out of the affected area,” said Duczek. “This remains an active fire and the restriction is in place to keep us all safe and to allow the crews to work safely.”
There are 183 firefighters, 5 helicopters and nine pieces of heavy equipment working on the fire, according to the latest update from the B.C. Wildfire Service.
Given a recent temperature drop and some preciptiation, fire crews are currently working to complete a fuel-free buffer zone and water dilvery system on the southeast flank ahead of a planned burn.
Where no longer required, resources are being demobilized from the northern and eastern flank.