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UPDATED: McArthur Creek fire forces evacuation alert of local residents

The the Southeast Fire Centre said the Blaze Creek fire is highly visible from Highway 3 but is not currently impacting the highway.

A wildfire is burning within 10 kilometers east of the Shambhala Music Festival media information on the BC Wildfire website said.

The McArthur Creek fire, discovered Sunday, July 29th, is surrounded by favourable geographic features that could act as natural fuel breaks.

“An evacuation alert has not been issued for the Shambhala Music Festival,” the BC Wildfire site said. “With favourable wind direction in the forecast, an evacuation alert is not anticipated for the music festival at this time.”

The fire, burning 13 km southeast of Salmo and about 9 km east of Highway 3/6, however, has forced the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) to issue an evacuation alert for three residents in the McArthur Creek area southeast of Salmo.

This is a a precautionary measure and in the interest of public safety the RDCK said.

BC Wildfire said this fire is a modified response fire meaning it is managed using a combination of suppression techniques, including direct and indirect attack, and monitoring to steer, contain and otherwise manage fire activity within pre-determined perimeters.

Effective immediately, the Sheep Waldie Forest Service Road and the Sheep Billings Forest Service Road are closed starting at the 10 kilometre mark of the junction of Sheep Waldie and Sheep Billings Forest Service Road. No access is permitted on these sections of road. A detailed map is available below.

The lightning caused fire is burning in remote terrain and is being closely monitored the BC Wildfire Service said.

Increased wildfire activity experienced in Southeast Fire Centre

Drought-like conditions on Vancouver Island, out-of-control fires in Northern BC a wildfire burning near Nanaimo — BC is starting to burn up due to the summer heat wave that has blanketed the province for most of the summer.

In the Southeast Fire Centre, a few new fires have crews on active duty — the most recent, the lightning caused Blazed Creek fire located 26 kilometers northwest of Creston on the Kootenay Pass.

The Southeast Fire Centre said the estimated 80-hectare blaze, discovered Tuesday, has 20 firefighters battling the fire with the assistance of three helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire is highly visible from Highway 3 but is not currently impacting the highway the Southeast Fire Centre said.

There are three other major wildfires of note in the Southeast Fire Centre.

The Parks Canada wildfire – Kootenay wildfire complex is burning within Kootenay National Park; the 1,1480 hectare Sage Creek fire is burning approximately 65 km southeast of Fernie near the BC/Alberta border and 283-hectare Whitetail Creek fire is located just outside Kootenay National Park, 40 km north of Radium Hot Springs.

Interior Health is urging the public to take extra precaution during the wildfire season due to the smoky skies across the Interior region.

Interior Health said with wildfires comes the potential for wildfire smoke pollution in and around communities across the Interior.

“The best way to cope with smoke pollution is to be prepared and take measures to reduce your exposure to smoke,” IH media release said.

Interior Health said smoke affects everyone differently, based on their health, age, exposure, and other personal factors. Smoke exposure can be particularly concerning for those who have underlying medical conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, or diabetes. Infants, young children, the elderly, and pregnant women can also be affected.

The following can reduce the health risks associated with wildfire smoke:

  • Reduce outdoor activity on smoky days.
  • Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.
  • People with asthma or other chronic illness should activate their personal care plans and carry any rescue medications with them at all times.
  • Find clean air shelters such as libraries, community centres, and shopping malls as they often have cleaner, cooler air than smaller buildings or the outdoors.
  • Consider purchasing a commercially available HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter and creating a clean air shelter in one room of your home.
  • Pay attention to local air quality reports and the conditions around you because smoke levels can change over short periods and over small distances. A heavy haze, possibly accompanied by the smell of smoke, can indicate that smoke levels are higher than usual. Check the Air Quality Health Index in your area.
  • Travel to areas with better air quality – conditions can vary greatly across geographic areas and elevations. See Environment and Climate Change Canada’s smoke forecast map for more information.

For general information about smoke and your health, contact HealthLinkBC toll free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 8-1-1.

The Southeast Fire Centre recently reported there are more than 100 fires are burning within the region.

Since April 1, 2018, 245-plus fires have burned more than 3,013 hectares. The fire danger rating in the Southeast Fire Centre is currently a mix of "high" and "extreme."

There are currently no backcountry closures, area restrictions or ATV restrictions in the Southeast Fire Centre's jurisdiction.

The BC Wildfire Service reminds the public that a campfire prohibition is in effect for the entire Southeast Fire Centre. Given the current wildfire activity and weather conditions, it is crucial to reduce the risk of human-caused-wildfires so the BC Wildfire Service can deal with new naturally occurring fires.

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

For more information about current bans and restrictions, visit: gov.bc.ca/wildfirebans 

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