Doctor Creek wildfire doubles in size

High winds riding in front of cold front storm prompt fire burning near Canal Flats to grow

The Doctor Creek wildfire burning near Canal Flats continues to grow, even as more than a hundred firefighters continue to battle the blaze and even as the skies around most of the Columbia Valley remain pleasantly clear.

The fire began on Tuesday, August 18th, about 25 kilometres southwest of Canal Flats, likely due to a lighting strike, and quickly grew into one of the biggest fires in B.C., prompting an evacuation order of the Finlay Creek area. The fire held steady for most of last week at 3,000 hectares in size, but late last week it nearly doubled, leaping to 5,800 hectares on Friday, August 29th.

“A significant amount of that was due to high winds,” British Columbia Wildfire Services (BCWS) fire information officer Jody Lucius told the Pioneer on Monday, August 31st, adding that a cold front storm, pushing strong winds in front of it, moved into the area on the day the fire jumped in size.

As of press deadline on Monday, August 31st, 113 firefighters were working on the Doctor Creek fire, with 15 pieces of heavy machinery and six helicopters in action. A group of skimmer (air tankers) had been used on the fire on Sunday, August 30th.

Lucious outlined to the Pioneer that the BCWS was hopeful about a forecast that called for “a small amount of precipitation” on Tuesday, September 1st and Wednesday, September 2nd, but emphasized that it was only a small amount and that the forecast thereafter was for hot and dry conditions.

A smaller wildfire at Bruce Creek, near Panorama Mountain Resort also kept firefighters in action last week. The blaze was discovered on Thursday, August 28th. Firefighters responded quickly, with skimmers visible in action, and the fire is now listed as ‘under control.’ The BCWS suspects the Bruce Creek fire was human-caused.

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