The Doctor Creek wildfire has grown to an estimated 79 square kilometres, based on the latest update from the BC Wildfire Service. Photo courtesy of BC Wildfire Service.

Doctor Creek wildfire in the East Kootenay grows to estimated 79 square kilometres

More accurate mapping completed Sunday as crews prepare for forecasted high winds

The Doctor Creek wildfire in the East Kootenay region of the province has grown to an estimated 79 square kilometres as BC Wildfire Service personnel conducted ignition operations last week to help with containment efforts on the southesast flank.

The growth is being attributed to more accurate mapping that was conducted on Sunday, according to the latest update from the BC Wildfire Service.

Over the weekend, crews continued to secure control lines for a cold front that is expected to bring strong wind gusts of up to 60 kilometres an hour in the valleys of the southern Interior forecasted for Monday, Sept. 7.

Crews are anticipating increased fire activity due to the winds and could push it in new directions, according to the BC Wildfire Service. Topographical features near the Doctor Creek fire causes wind to accelerate as it travels through the valley.

A high pressure ridge is forecasted to bring warm and dry conditions back into the area by Tuesday, with gradual warming and drying continuing into Wednesday.

The Regional District of East Kootenay issued an expanded evacuation alert on Sunday covering mostly Crown land on the south side of the fire.

The evacuation alert covers the Buhl Creek Recreation site, Doctor Creek Cabin Rec site, and the Skookumchuck Forest Service Road. The evacuation alert does not cover any residential properties and aligns with Crown land area restriction previously issued by the BC Wildfire Service.

“Although there are no residential properties in this area and much of the access is closed due to the Area Restriction, we want to ensure recreationalists are aware of the potential for fire growth and are taking steps to be adequately prepared,” said Information Officer Loree Duczek, in a press release.

An existing evacuation order remains in effect for five properties in the Findlay Creek area.

There are currently 175 firefighters working on the fire, along with eight helicopters and 18 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire is suspected to be lightning caused and was discovered on Aug. 18.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

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