Fire situation improving

Whiteswan Provincial Park re-opened; most travel restrictions lifted; proactive burning begins on White Complex fires

  • Aug. 19, 2014 9:00 a.m.

Camping season is officially back on. Not only has the fire ban been lifted throughout the Southeast Fire Zone, but access to one of the areas most popular campsites, Whiteswan Provincial Park, is now open.

With several days of rain and cooler temperatures giving fire crews an opportunity to make progress on many fires in the area, most travel restrictions have been lifted as well.

The group of fires known as the White Complex near Canal Flats are still getting plenty of attention, however.

Jordan Turner, Fire Information Officer with the Southeast Fire Centre, says that while many areas of the East Kootenay received substantial rain, that was not so much the case with the White Complex.

“That area didn’t get as much rain, but it did get some, which was  a great improvement,” he said.

There are currently seven lightning caused fires burning in the White Complex.

As of Monday morning, they are:

• The White Tail Brook Fire, 8 km east of Canal Flats, is approximately 2,000 hectares and is 70 per cent contained.

• The Whiteswan Lake Fire, adjacent to the south edge of Whiteswan Lake, is approximately five hectares and 100 per cent contained.

• The White Rock Fire, two km east of the White River, is approximately 1,000 hectares and 60 per cent per cent contained.

• The Shark Tooth Mountain Fire, 17 km southeast of Canal Flats, is approximately 130 hectares and not contained.

• The East White Tail Fire, 1.5 km southeast of Munroe Lake, is approximately 300 hectares and 50 per cent contained.

• The East White River Fire, 4 km northwest of Munroe Lake, is approximately 550 hectares and is 50 per cent contained.

• The Little Elk Creek Fire, 30km east of Invermere, is approximately 240 hectares and is 25 per cent contained.

“There are 156 firefighters, five pieces of heavy equipment and four helicopters working in this complex,” Turner said.

On Monday, August 18, crews began what is called proactive burning around these fires. Residents were warned that there would be visible columns of smoke as the burns began.

“We want to contain these fires,” Turner said. “That is the purpose of the burn-off. The hope is to burn off areas and guide the  fires to control lines at the valley bottoms so there is no opportunity for them to grow.”

No communities or structures are threatened by these fires.

The Southeast Fire Centre would like to remind aircraft operators that when smoke or flame are identified in a wildland area the surrounding airspace (over a forest fire area, or over any area that is located within five nautical miles of a forest fire, at an altitude of less than 915 metres or 3,000 feet above ground level) automatically becomes flight restricted under the authority of Section 601.15 of the Canadian Aviation Regulation.

Almost all area restrictions have been lifted.

The following forest service roads are now open:

•  The main Whiteswan Forest Service Road from Highway 93/95 junction to the 32-km marker.

• The entire Kootenay Forest Service Road.

•  The entire White-Rock Forest Service Road.

• Access roads leading to Whiteswan Provincial Park and Lussier Hot Springs are now open, and the park will re-opened on Monday.

However, access to the White River Forest Service Road via the Whiteswan Forest Service Road will be closed past the 32-km marker to the general public due to fire fighting activities in the area.

An area restriction put in place northwest of Elkford continues.

This includes the entire East Fork of the White River Forest Service Road (FSR) from approximately 46.0 km to Munroe Lake; the Bull River FSR south to approximately 95 km and the entire Crown land portion of the Crossing Creek Trail east to Round Prairie.

Although the fire danger has dropped in most of Southeast British Columbia, it remains “Moderate” to “High” in the areas surrounding the White Complex. The Southeast Fire Centre is urging the public to be extra cautious with campfires in the backcountry.

Just Posted

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

Himalayan Life helped finance the construction of Nepal’s Yangri Academic Centre and dormitories after a 2015 earthquake devastated the valley, killing more than 9,000 people. (Screen grab/Peter Schaeublin)
B.C. charity founder pledges to rebuild Nepalese school swept away by flash floods

Six years after an earthquake killed more than 9,000 people, Nepal faces another catastrophy

Most Read