By Pioneer Staff
info@columbiavalleypioneer.com

The wildfire burning on nearby Bill Nye Mountain has prompted a precautionary evacuation alert for 53 properties around Lazy Lake. Discovered on Saturday, July 10, the fire originated seven kilometres southeast of Wasa, which was caused by lightning. The magnitude of the wildfire has been estimated at 873 hectares (ha.).

“An evacuation alert informs residents of the threat of a potential or impending danger. It is intended to give people time to gather things and prepare themselves so that they are ready to go should the situation worsen and an Evacuation Order is issued,” explains Information Officer Loree Duczek. “We encourage people within the evacuation alert area to put together important papers (like insurance papers), medications, valuables, supplies for children and pets, and other important items so that in the event things progress and they are asked to evacuate, they are ready to go.” 

The evacuation alert also includes Lazy Lake Recreation Sites and Trails BC Campground. “If people have RV trailers or boats, now is the time to move them. If an evacuation order needs to be issued, the priority is getting people out, and RVs and boats will be left behind at that point,” explains Duczek.

“We need to stress that at this time, we have only issued an alert and now is the time to take steps to be prepared,” adds Duczek.

During the Evacuation Alert, you should prepare for the possibility of an Evacuation Order by: Locating all household members and designate a meeting point outside the evacuation area; Gathering essential items such as medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (e.g., insurance), immediate care needs for dependents. Have these items readily available for quick departure; Preparing to move any disabled persons and/or children; Moving pets and livestock to a safe area; Making transportation arrangements for your household members in the event of an Evacuation Order. 

If you need transportation assistance, please call 250-489-9677; Arranging accommodation for your family if possible. In the event of an evacuation, Reception Centres will be opened if required; Monitoring news sources for information on Evacuation Orders and locations of Reception Centres.

As of July 19, four firefighters were on-site with one helicopter and two pieces of heavy equipment. 

??The Wildfires of Note indicated that “crews and heavy equipment made good progress on both the machine guard and hand-built fuel free at the base of the hill. Ground crews and heavy equipment will continue with that work on scene today (July 19). A helicopter is supporting with bucketing activities and flying officers so that they can monitor fire growth.”  

“In many parts of the province, especially the Interior, hot and dry conditions are forecast to persist for the foreseeable future. I know tensions for many are high, given the widespread, damaging fire seasons of recent years. And I know many are seeking ways to lend their support,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “If you are in a community that is under an evacuation alert, or in any community that may be threatened by wildfires this summer, there’s a lot you can do to prepare your family before an evacuation. If you don’t have an evacuation plan, now is the time to make one. There are a host of guides and supports available on the PreparedBC and Emergency Info BC websites.

Area restrictions

Several area restriction orders have been implemented by the B.C. Wildfire Service in the vicinity of the Tanglefoot Creek wildfire (N11958) and Ptarmigan Creek wildfire (N21981). As part of ongoing fire suppression activities, the area has been restricted to ensure public safety.

The area restriction for Ptarmigan Creek wildfire, 23 kilometers northeast of Canal Flats, begins at the junction of Moscow FSR and the northeast corner of Whiteswan Provincial Park, moving west along Whiteswan Provincial Park’s northern boundary.

At the Galbraith and Tanglefoot Creek Fire Service Roads junction, a new area restriction is being imposed on the Tanglefoot Creek wildfire that originated 30 kilometers northeast of Cranbrook.

These orders will be in effect through September 15, 2021, unless revoked earlier.

Fire activity may change the closures and restrictions in place. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Southeast Fire Centre’s bans and restrictions page on the B.C. Wildfire website: http://ow.ly/k5jT50Fvlk3

Considering the early start to the fire season and the dry conditions in B.C., the total number of fires to date is almost exceeding the average number of fires in a single season. On July 18, according to the B.C. Wildfire, a total of 1,1235 wildfires have been reported since the beginning of the season. The average wildfire number in B.C. from April 1 through March 31 each year, taken from 2011 to 2020, was 1,352. On average, 42 per cent of these are human-caused and 58 per cent are lightning-caused. A total of 246 fires were reported in the South East region on July 18, covering 9,988 ha. 

In the event of a wildfire, unattended campfire, or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll free or on a cell phone, *5555. Visit www.bcwildfire.ca for the latest information about wildfires, restrictions, road closures, and air quality advisories or download the mobile app of the BC Wildfire Service.