The Kokanee Creek fire a few hours after the lightning strike on Saturday. Photo: Joy McAdams

The Kokanee Creek fire a few hours after the lightning strike on Saturday. Photo: Joy McAdams

Rain slows Nelson area wildfires

The Harrop Creek fire received 10 to 15 mm of rain over the weekend

Cooler temperatures and small amounts of precipitation have slowed wildfires in the Nelson area over the weekend.

“When we see even spotty showers on a fire, it does help slow any growth and add humidity to the forest fuels,” said Karlie Shaughnessy of the Southeast Fire Centre. “It gives crews time to directly attack the fires and make more progress on them. Even the cooler temperatures help.”

The Harrop Creek fire received 10 to 15 mm of rain over the weekend, she said. The fire has not grown significantly over the past few days and stands at 2,160 hectares. There are 80 firefighters with four helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment working the fire.

The fire has been burning since July 27 about 10 kilometres south of Harrop.

The Kokanee Creek fire, started by lighting on Saturday, now covers an estimated 70 hectares on a ridge between Kokanee and Sitkum Creeks. It was also slowed by about 10 to 15 mm of rain on Sunday, but Shaughnessy says it is not contained. The fire is being fought by 21 fire fighters and one helicopter.

“There is no growth toward the communities down there and if any growth has occurred it has been up on the ridge,” Shaughnnessy said.

The evacuation alert issued by the RDCK over the weekend is still in effect for properties between Crescent Bay and Sitkum Creek.

There is also good news from the McCormick Creek fire, which is now 40 per cent contained. It received only 4 mm of rain over the weekend but Shaughnessy says cooler temperatures helped. The fire now covers 337 hectares.

Highway 6 between Highway 3 and the U.S. border remains closed.

An evacuation order affecting residents of McCormick Creek and Nelway is still in effect.

Shaughnessy said that last night’s lightning across the region was accompanied by enough rain that only three new fires were started, none of them in the Nelson area.

As for the recent rain showers, she said residents should not be complacent.

“In reality these fires are probably burning very deep underground and it will take significant precipitation to extinguish fires of this size.”

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