The fires are feeling close to Fernie with the valley being filled with smoke. The Air Quality Advisory remains in effect in the Fernie and the last couple of days have been extremely smoky. Those conditions are expected to continue for at least a couple of days. Tips to help reduce irriation / impacts from the air quality include keeping indoor air as clean as possible (keep windows and doors closed, run an air conditioner and keep the fresh air intake closed and filter clean, or seek shelter in an air conditioned environment) and avoid strenuous outdoor activity. If you are concerned about the impacts of the air quality on your breathing/health, you are encouraged to talk to your physician about your care plan.
Fernie experienced its first loss to the fires with The Fernie Trails and Ski Touring Club loosing their new Harvey Hut to the Lodgepole fire. The Lodgepole fire has spread to over 2,000 hectares over the past few days. The blaze has grown steadily and was fueled by erratic winds that unexpectedly moved the fire towards the hut in Harvey Pass. Efforts are underway with a funding drive to rebuild the cabin, see more here.
All trails and backroads remain closed in the Fernie area for fire prevention in this extreme climate. Please respect the closures.
Lodgepole FSR: The fire is still estimated at 2000 hectares. It is not threatening any communities at this time.
St Mary River Fire: The St. Mary River Fire is still being held and is now classified as 76% contained. They continue to work on it and have been making good progress. The fire has not grown in size and is still 398 hectares in size. The evacuation ALERT remains in place. Click here to view the latest BCWS bulletin on the St. Mary Fire (emailed earlier today but we have a number of new people on the list since then).
Lamb Creek Fire (Moyie Area): The fire is estimated at 1605 hectares in size. They had 52 personnel, 14 pieces of heavy equipment and helicopters (when visibility permitted) working the fire today. Crews continue to build control lines with the aid of heavy equipment and air support. In yesterday’s update, we mentioned that an Incident Management Team has arrived on site to take over operation of the fire. We thought it might be helpful to explain their role. An Incident Management Team (IMT) is a specialized group of personnel that take over the coordination and response to significant wildfire (or, sometimes, a group of fires). This takes pressure off of local fire management staff so that they can focus on other fires in the region. The evacuation orders remain in effect. Click here to view the latest BCWS bulletin on this fire.
Linklater Fire (Koocanusa / Newgate Area): The fire on the Canadian side of the border is estimated at 833 hectares in size and they had 19 personnel, 9 pieces of heavy equipment, and 1 helicopter. Crews continue to build guard with the aid of heavy equipment and air support. The visibility was very poor in the South Country today due to the smoke. The evacuation order for Newgate / West Koocanusa from Gold Bay south to the border remains in effect. The evacuation alert on the east side of Lake Koocanusa in the Grasmere area remains in effect. Click here to view the latest BCWS bulletin on this fire.
White River Complex: The fire is still estimated at 12,000 hectares. Increased fire behaviour yesterday resulted in removing crews and equipment, to ensure the safety of personnel. Today, personnel are working in priority areas where it is safe to do so. The three fires have merged into one fire and the fire is now called the White River Fire. Currently BC Wildfire Service personnel are closely monitoring this fire and creating contingency plans. It is producing a lot of smoke. The evacuation ORDER for Whiteswan Lake area remains in place.
White Creek Fire: this fire is burning northwest of Kimberley. It is burning in a very remote area at high elevation. The size is estimated at 322 hectares and is not threatening any communities at this time.
Quinn Creek Fire: the fire remains active. It is estimated at 2700 hectares. It is not threatening communities at this time.
Verdant Creek Fire: Parks Canada continues to actively manage the Verdant Creek wildfire that is burning in Kootenay National Park and Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park using ground crews and helicopter bucketing. It is now estimated at over 17,644 hectares. Highway 93S is open; however, there may still be delays due to smoke or fire suppression activities. Check www.drivebc.ca or www.alberta511.ca for updates before you travel for the latest road updates.
Evacuation Orders / Alerts:
The RDEK currently has evacuation ORDERS in effect in the following areas: Whiteswan Lake, Moyie (north and south), Newgate / West Koocanusa
The RDEK currently has evacuation ALERTS in effect in the following areas: east side Lake Koocanusa in the Grasmere area, Mission/Fort Steele, Aqam – 36 homes on Reserve
There are currently NO alerts or orders for any of the municipalities in the East Kootenay.
You can find the evacuation orders and alerts, including maps, HERE.
We in Fernie are very lucky to have such a dedicated team of firefighters, coordinators, and helicopter pilots. We thank you for working so hard to keep our valley fire free.