It appears fire crews on the Sitkum Creek fire above Six Mile near Nelson have begun a controlled burn-off that was scheduled for today.

UPDATED: Controlled burn at Sitkum fire near Nelson

The Martin Mars drops water on Akokli Creek fire today and three new spot fires were found near Winlaw, Pilot Bay and Harrop yesterday.



Fire crews have begun a controlled burn off on the Sitkum Creek fire above Six Mile near Nelson.

Fire information officer Karlie Shaughnessy confirmed that the controlled burn is going as planned and the smoke should lessen later this evening.

Controlled fire is being used to strengthen control lines and contain the fire to the areas between Duhamel Creek and Sitkum Creek.

Today’s burn off operations are on the north flank of the fire to consolidate containment lines. You can expect to see an increase in smoke and fire activity as these operations occur.

Tamara Hynd photos

The primary objective of BC Wildfire Service crews on the Sitkum Creek fire is to limit the fire spread down slope towards the identified values such as homes.

Crews are burning off any remaining unburned fuel between the guard and the wildfire. This removes fuel from the fire’s path and reduces the chance of the wildfire breaching the control line. During burnout operations, the fire will appear more active.

According to the ministry, the wildfire is located in very steep, dangerous terrain therefore, this burn out is necessary to limit the potential growth and direction of the fire. The objective is to secure the north flank on Duhamel Creek.

The 530-hectare Sitkum Creek wildfire is 50-per-cent contained and has 79 firefighters, 18 support staff, three helicopters and three pieces of heavy equipment continuing ongoing suppression efforts.

One of BC Wildfire Services’ priorities is protecting life and property. The BC Wildfire Service is requesting the public’s help in accomplishing this goal by urging members of the public to stay out of the area restriction order that is in effect.

Martin Mars drops water on Akokli Creek fire near Boswell

The famous Martin Mars was in the West Kootenay today assisting ground crews on a smaller fire north of Akokli Creek east of Boswell. The large bomber helped establish a wet line on the seven hectare fire east of highway 3A. The fire was discovered on July 11.

Fire information officer Karlie Shaughnessy said the BC Wildfire branch brought in the Martin Mars for one day only and it has departed back to its base in Port Alberni.

“It was the right tool for the job,” she said.

Shaughnessy explained the fire is on very steep terrain making it difficult to get water tenders and heavy equipment to the fire line. Yesterday air tankers tried to lay retardant on the fire but the retardant rolled off the steep slope and was ineffective for a secure control line.

There are currently 19 people and two helicopters working on the fire.

Three new fires in West Kootenay

The Southeast Fire Centre deployed initial attack crews to three new lightning-caused spot fires discovered yesterday in the West Kootenay, while fire crews continue to work on containing the Sitkum Creek fire.

Summary of new fires and fire of note:

•    Mount Irvine: .009 hectare, above Harrop

•    Mount Eccles: .017 hectare, east of Winlaw

•    Pilot Bay: .009 hectare

•    Sitkum Creek fire: 530 hectares, 50 percent contained, with controlled burning scheduled for today

There is a campfire and burning ban in the Southeast Fire Centre. To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, go to www.bcwildfire.ca.

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