Residents who have been living under an evacuation alert due to the Sitkum/Duhamel and Mt. Aylwin wildfires can breathe a little easier: the alerts have been lifted. The Sitkum fire is now 50 per cent contained.
The Regional District of Central Kootenay made the announcement based on a recommendation from the BC Wildfire Service.
“The RDCK thanks residents for their cooperation during the evacuation alert and expresses deep gratitude to the firefighting crews who have been working hard to keep our residents and their homes safe,” a statement read.
The Sitkum alert, which affected about 350 homes in the Six Mile area, was lifted thanks to rain and reduced fire activity today.
“Control lines above properties in the area have been established and reinforced, and these actions along with favourable weather and forecasts have significantly reduced the risk to public safety,” the BC Wildfire Service said.
An access restriction around the fire issued Thursday will remain in place until further notice, says Noelle Kekula of the wildfire centre.
“I know curiosity gets the best of people,” Kekula said, “but that fire is still burning. Let’s say the fire takes another run, and we have people in the bush and we have to start bucketing again. We don’t want to wonder if there are people in there.”
Another evacuation alert affecting 35 people south of Silverton due to a fire at the base of Mount Aylwin was lifted this morning.
Cooler temperatures and rain have helped cool the blaze and crews will be working towards mop up in the next few days, according to fire information officer Jordan Turner.
A 20-person unit crew from Revelstoke is working directly on the fire putting out hot spots.
“We believe the risk [to residents] is substantially reduced,” Turner said Tuesday morning, adding the alert was issued on Saturday as the fire was burning “quite hot and dry, and burning at night and was fairly intense”.
Crews constructed a helipad to gain better access to the blaze as the ground is quite steep making the access difficult and time consuming. This has allowed the firefighters to get onsite earlier and stay later.