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Update on wildfires of note burning in the Southeast Fire Centre, RDCK Evacuation Order for Octopus Creek wildfire

The Michaud Creek wildfire originated about 21 kilometres south of Edgewood has grown to 2,670 hectares (estimates size). — BC Wildfire Service photo

The Southeast Fire Centre (SEFC) is continuing to experience unprecedented hot and dry conditions challenging fire suppression efforts, and because of this weather pattern there are handful of wildfires of concern.

The Arrow Lakes zone has three fires of interest — Trozzo Creek wildfire near Winlaw, Octopus Creek wildfire south of Fauquier and Michaud Creek wildfire 21 kilometres south of Edgewood.

The Southeast Fire Centre said below-average spring precipitation and above seasonal temperatures accelerated the drying of forest fuels at a rate not previously observed, making them highly susceptible to ignition.

Fuels right now are very susceptible to ignition, and new starts are challenging initial attack success.

As this is an evolving situation, the best source for up-to-date information on all evacuation alerts and orders are the Regional Districts in your area.

Arrow Zone

Trozzo Creek wildfire 

  • originated about 7.5 kilometres northeast of Winlaw
  • 742 hectares (estimated size), growth is expected once a track is possible.
  • Strong winds and steep unworkable terrain have made sections of this fire challenging to fight with direct attack strategies.
  • Early on, ground crews effectively established a containment line on the west side of the fire that has continued to hold even in repeated strong wind events.
  • Not areas of restrictions in the Trozzo Creek Wildfire at this link.

July 19 was the most challenging day for this fire as strong winds, steep terrain, and increasingly dry fuels drove aggressive fire behaviour and created four spot fires. One of those fires grew too quickly for crews or aviation resources to contain it and it has now spread into the South Lemon Creek drainage.

Crews and equipment have turned attention to developing containment lines on the north side of the Trozzo Creek drainage and opening roads into South Lemon Creek to access the areas of new growth. Equipment will keep extending the control line toward the southwest perimeter and ground crews are supporting these control lines with hose lay.

There are currently no evacuation alerts or orders attached to this fire and structures are not threatened at this time.

Octopus Creek wildfire

  • originated about 11 kilometres south of Fauquier
  • 2,940 hecatres (estimated size)
  • growth has been wind driven and an abundance of large fuels susceptible to ignitions
  • officers and industry-led strike teams moved in to prepare contingency lines at the north end of the fire.
  • structure protection is active on all homes in the evacuation order area

The evening of July 19, a 20-person unit crew moved into place and began work the next morning. As a result of increasing winds driving fire behaviour, a small planned ignition for today was delayed. Airtankers were on scene this morning (July 20) to lay down retardant and re-inforce control lines. Helicopters are continuing to provide bucketing support and move crews around as needed. Poor visibility grounded the skimmers that were planned for this incident today.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay has implemented an evacuation order for five properties on the south side of Taite Creek, including the Taite Creek recreation site. An evacuation alert is also in place for 162 properties is in place for the communities of Applegrove and Fauquier on the east shore of Lower Arrow Lake in Electoral Area K. For all inquiries on evacuation alerts attached to this incident, visit the Regional District of Central Kootenay at: www.rdck.ca

The Michaud Creek wildfire 

  • originated about 21 kilometres south of Edgewood
  • 2,670 hectares (estimates size)
  • wildfire behaviour is a moderately vigorous surface fire with sections of highly vigorous surface fire as larger fuels are found

This fire has been challenging to control because of the rocky, unworkable terrain. The majority of the growth has been happening north / northwest. An industry heavy equipment strike team has been working steadily to build containment lines. Machine guard work has been focused at the north of the fire up Johnson Creek canyon.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay has implemented an evacuation order for two recreation properties in the Cinnamon Lake and Johnson Creek areas respectively. An evacuation alert is also being implemented for 331 properties in the communities of Edgewood and Needles. For all inquiries on evacuation orders and alerts attached to this incident, visit the Regional District of Central Kootenay at: www.rdck.ca

Kootenay Lake Zone

The Akokli Creek wildfire 

  • originated about 7.5 kilometres east of Boswell
  • 865 hectares (estimated)
  • this fire has been burning in steep, unworkable terrain in the Akokli drainage that has not been safe for crews or resources to work on directly
  • wind and fuel available to burn resulted in growth overnight, which caused the fire to become more visible to residents in the area

Crews are on the ground and working to build control lines with the assistance of heavy equipment on ground that crews and resources can safely work on. Additional crews are being mobilized to this wildfire to assist in suppression activities.

It is important to note that structures are not immediately threatened and the evacuation alert has not been expanded to an order at this time. The Regional District of Central Kootenay has implemented an evacuation alert on 244 properties in the communities of Boswell, Destiny Bay, and Sanca. For all inquiries on evacuation alerts attached to this incident, visit the Regional

District of Central Kootenay at: www.rdck.ca

In the Cranbrook Zone in the East Kootenay, the Bill Nye Mountain fire southeast of Wasa, 54 properties in Lazy Lake Lakit Lake, Holmes Road and Wildhorse FSR areas under evacuation alert.

Cranbrook Zone

Bill Nye Mountain wildfire

  • originated about seven kilometres southeast of Wasa
  • 956 hectares (estimated size)
  • wildfire behaviour is low to moderate surface fire, though it does get more active as winds increase and pockets of unburned fuel are found
  • this wildfire moved downslope while fuel finding, making the wildfire more visible to the communities of Wasa, Cranbrook and surrounding areas

Ground crews and heavy equipment have made good progress building a control line at the base of the mountain. This machine guard was linked in with hand-built fuel free and crews are working on linking it into the pre-existing logging road on the west side. Helicopters have been providing regular aviation support in bucketing activities to cool hot spots and flying officers daily to monitor fire activity.

The Regional District of East Kootenay has an evacuation alert is in place for 54 properties in the Lazy Lake, Lakit Lake, Holmes Road, and Wildhorse FSR areas. For all inquiries on evacuation alerts attached to this incident, visit the Regional District of East Kootenay: www.rdek.bc.ca

The Southeast Fire Centre said since April 1, 2021, there have been 254 fires in the SEFC, 65 remain active and 36 new starts in the last seven days. This is above the five-year average of 138 fire starts for this time of year.

The BC Wildfire Service is responding to wildfires on a priority basis within the SEFC.

The top priority is always human life and safety including our the safety of our responding crew members. The second priority is property. The third priority is the protection of areas with high environmental values including community watersheds and species at risk.

The fourth priority is resource values.

RDCK Evacuation Order for the Octopus Creek wildfire

On the recommendation of the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS), the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) has expanded its Evacuation Order for the Octopus Creek wildfire (N51800) in Electoral Area K to include the area from the transmission lines on Applegrove Road south to the existing order boundary.

List of addresses added under Evacuation Order are:

  • 348 Applegrove Rd.
  • 430 Applegrove Rd.
  • 504 Applegrove Rd.
  • 604 Applegrove Rd.
  • 612 Applegrove Rd.
  • 620 Applegrove Rd.
  • 685 Applegrove Rd.
  • 780 Applegrove Rd.
  • 784 Applegrove Rd.
  • 802 Applegrove Rd.
  • 920 Applegrove Rd.

On July 17, the RDCK issued its original Evacuation ORDER for five properties on the south side of Taite Creek, including Taite Creek recreation site. The Evacuation ALERT also remains in place for the community of Fauquier on the east shore of Lower Arrow Lake.

Residents and visitors are required to leave the Evacuation Order area immediately and report to the Nakusp & District Sports Complex (200 8th Ave NW, Nakusp, BC) or register online with Emergency Support Services (ESS) at https://ess.gov.bc.ca/.

Short-term assistance for immediate needs of food, shelter, and clothing maybe provided by ESS volunteers following registration at the above website. For further assistance you can call the RDCK Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) public inquiry line 250-352-7701.


Map of Octopus Creek Wildfire Evacuation Order.