Fire crews busy in Montrose, Big Sheep Creek
Blaze threatens Montrose homes
On April 12, 2020, forty-three firefighters from Montrose, Trail, Fruitvale, Warfield and Rossland all worked to control a wildfire started by backyard burning at a home across highway 22A from the Beaver Creek Provincial Park. The fire burned four and a half acres uphill toward homes in Montrose before being brought under control. Firefighters left a line of sprinklers on overnight below the homes in Montrose, and a smaller crew returned the following morning and worked all day to ensure that any remaining hot-spots are fully extinguished.
This fire occurred after the provincial government issued a burning ban on all Category 2 and 3 fires, but campfires are still allowed. The fire that started the wildfire was in Area A, and there are currently no fire restrictions in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary beyond the provincial ban on Category 2 and 3 fires.
A Montrose resident who had been away from home when the fire started said that he and his wife could see the smoke from the Tadanac area, and reported, “it looked like our house could be on fire. We were just fortunate that the wind didn’t drive the fire harder toward the houses.”
He commented that it is especially unfortunate to have such events at this time. “Social distancing was out the window as people pulled together to make sure our houses didn’t catch fire.” He explained that their outside water taps weren’t turned on yet for the season, and neighbours had been trying to get water going to help the firefighters protect the houses in the path of the wildfire.
Chimney fire in Big Sheep Creek
Seventeen firefighters from Trail and Rossland responded to another fire on March 13 – this time, a chimney fire in a home in Big Sheep Creek, west of Rossland. The crews were able to limit the fire to the home’s attic space, and there were no injuries.
A local resident in Rossland commented on how dry the forest seems to be as soon as the snow is gone. “I’ve been biking on some of the trails,” he explained, “and they’re already dusty.”