Nelson’s fire chief flies over Harrop

Concerns have been raised about fire’s proximity to water source

Nelson’s fire chief Len MacCharles flew over the Harrop fire Tuesday with an expert from B.C. Wildfire Service.

While he admits he is not a wildfire specialist, MacCharles wanted to see the fire for himself because he was concerned about the safety of Nelson’s water supply, which originates in West Arm Park.

He said it was hard to see much of the fire itself because of the smoke.

“I could see a couple of fronts that were burning, and there were crews down below, it looked like they were cutting a fire break into one area,” he told the Star.

But he also flew over the surrounding landscape, and came away less concerned about Nelson’s water supply.

“Based on the information I was given and on what I saw, I felt better. I felt that it was not highly likely that we would see the fire move into that area. In fact the fire was moving in a south direction, away from the Harrop area and not toward Nelson.

“Now as we know, things change dramatically with wind, but they showed me that even with a wind-driven fire (toward Nelson) it would have to go through some obstacles including a couple of large drainages, one of which is Laska Creek.”

He said there are also a number of unforested scree slopes that would slow a fire down as well as a burned area from a fire in 2003.

MacCharles said the explanations he was given by B.C. Wildfire, were “very professional, very knowledgeable. They were taking the fire seriously and I felt we were in good hands.”

MacCharles has been Nelson’s fire chief since 2014. Before that he served for 35 years in the Calgary Fire Department, most recently as a deputy chief.

In May 2011, he was named the incident commander in the aftermath of the firestorm that swept through Slave Lake, at the time Canada’s costliest disaster.

Pegged at $700 million, the fire destroyed one third of the area, including 374 properties in and around the town. The disaster left 732 residents homeless.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

SD8 students can learn more about Métis culture, history, and language by participating in a variety of educational initiatives this month. Photo: Submitted
SD8 celebrates Métis Awareness Month

The district has a number of events planned in November

Numbers indicate positive COVID-19 tests, January through September. Map: BC Centre for Disease Control
Twenty-five cases of COVID-19 reported in Nelson, Castlegar and Trail in 2020

New data from the BC Centre for Disease Control shows numbers of cases per community

Boxers L-R: William Veroni of North Vancouver and Nelson’s Makalu Babott. Photo submitted
Nelson boxers compete in first pandemic match in North Vancouver

Match was conducted with no spectators and streamed to a live audience

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

Most Read