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Planned ignition on Meachen Creek fire went ahead Sunday

Cool temperatures, higher humidiy helping efforts
Fire fighters taking break at the Sully after working on the Lost Dog Complex on Saturday. John Wallace file.

BC Wildfire Service did go ahead with the planned ignition on the Meachen Creek fire on Sunday, and although it did lead to very heavy smoke in and around Kimberley, Mayor Don McCormick says it was successful.

“As far as they could tell everything went to plan,” McCormick said. “They will be evaluating it today and we’ll have more information.”

McCormick says that conditions right now are very positive.

“We have cool temperatures and higher humidity. It’s helping a lot,” he said.

Over the weekend, over 4,000 written notices of the evacuation alert were hand delivered in Kimberley. This is a precaution to make sure that every person knows the City is under alert.

The organization was coordinated by the Kimberley RCMP and volunteers from the Cranbrook, Sparwood, Invermere and Kimberley Search and Rescue teams, Kimberley Fire Department employees and city staff delivered all the notices.

On Friday, seniors facilities, including all Interior Health facilities as well as private, relocated their residents, either to family or various locations in Cranbrook.

“It’s not an evacuation,” McCormick said. “Moving residents of these facilities when an alert is in effect is part of the protocol, mainly because of the time it takes to complete, and also it is lower stress than if you were under an order.”

The Meachen Creek fire is now estimated at 6,996 hectares and is 10 kilometres southwest of St. Mary Lake. A better estimate of the size was changed due to BC Wildfire Service being able to get a more accurate map. The fire advanced little over the weekend.

Management of the fire is now being handled by an Incident Management Team.

Expanded forest service road restrictions are in effect for the Meachen Creek, Redding Creek, Grey Creek and White Boar forest service roads. Click here for a detailed map.

Beginning at the 31 km mark of St. Mary Lake Road, the Redding Creek forest service road is closed to the height of land, and the 25.3 km mark on the Hellroaring forest service road junction with the St. Mary River Main forest service road. Click here for a detailed map.

BC Parks has also issued a partial closure of Kianuko Provincial Park.

The City of Kimberley remains under evacuation alert and an evacuation order remains in effect for St. Mary Valley residents.

Lost Dog Complex

A planned burn on this 706 hectare fire went ahead last week and has been deemed a success. The smaller two fires in the complex are now considered “being held”. 45 firefighters, three helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment continued to work this fire on the weekend.

The evacuation alert for the Ta Ta Creek area remains in effect.

Carolyn Grant

About the Author: Carolyn Grant

I have been with the Kimberley Bulletin since 2001 and have enjoyed every moment of it.
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