The BC Wildfire Service reminds the public that they must stay clear of firefighting aircraft collecting water from Lower Arrow Lake and Upper Arrow Lake, in response to the Syringa Complex wildfires burning about 17 kilometres northwest of Castlegar.
The Syringa Complex includes the Deer Creek, Syringa Creek and Bulldog Mountain wildfires.
When firefighting aircraft, such as airtankers or helicopters, are working on an active wildfire and picking up water from nearby lakes, they need plenty of room to manoeuvre to do their job safely. Recreational boaters or people using other watercraft who try to get a close-up look at these aircraft present a serious safety risk for air crews and anyone else in the area.
This behaviour is extremely dangerous and interferes with the BC Wildfire Service’s ability to fight a fire, since a pilot cannot collect water when a boat is in its intended flight path. Such interference can reduce the effectiveness of fire suppression activities and pose safety risks to both the public and first responders. Reports of people getting in the way of firefighting aircraft will be investigated by the Compliance and Enforcement Branch, the Conservation Officer Service or the RCMP. If it’s determined that the person was interfering in firefighting operations, a fine and/or penalty could be issued under the Wildfire Act.
Members of the public must also stay away from active wildfires. Government officials who are engaged in wildfire control, including firefighters, have the authority to order anyone to leave such areas.
Access restrictions around Syringa Complex wildfires:
- An area restriction is in effect for the area north of the Rialto Forest Service Road, along Broadwater Road and Deer Park Forest Service Road. The boundary includes the area west of Oak Road and north to Mount Stanley. A detailed map is available online at: http://ow.ly/diwX30lt3hH
- An area restriction is in effect for the area bounded by the Dog Creek, Grass Creek and Bulldog Eight forest Service roads and the height of land connecting those perimeters. A detailed map is available online at: http://ow.ly/7fJr30lr1ye
- A voluntary trail closure is in effect for the Columbia Western Rail Trail, starting at the west end of Arrow Lake Drive, which is south of the Hugh Keenleyside Dam, to the Paulson Detour Road and rail trail intersection at the trailhead kiosk. This trail is being used by fire crews, so it would be helpful if the public could refrain from using the trail at this time.
Evacuation alerts and evacuation orders:
As of Aug. 31, 2018, the following evacuation alerts and evacuation orders that are related to the Syringa Complex wildfires are in effect:
- An evacuation alert is in place for all of Syringa Provincial Park and southeast along Lower Arrow Lake to the Hugh Keenleyside Dam in Robson.
- An evacuation order is in place for the area north from Renata Ferry Road on Broadwater Road and Deer Creek Forest Service Road. The area from Renata Ferry Road to Cayuse Creek remains on evacuation alert.
- The Regional District of Central Kootenay has downgraded an evacuation order to an evacuation alert, for the area that includes the community of Brooklyn and all properties to the southeast to Shields Point.
- An evacuation order remains in effect for the area northwest of Brooklyn, including Renata.
For the latest information on evacuation alerts and evacuation orders in this area, please contact the Regional District of Central Kootenay at 250 352-7701, or visit its website at: www.rdck.ca
Syringa Complex operational update:
An eight-person incident management team and nine firefighting aircraft have been assigned to the Syringa Complex, and a temporary weather station has been installed to help predict fire behaviour. Although the Castlegar area has received rain in recent days, the Syringa Complex wildfires have not received significant rainfall.
- The Deer Creek wildfire (N52489) covers about 1,557 hectares and is about 50% contained. Ground crews, heavy equipment and aviation resources continue to respond to this fire today. Crews have made good progress establishing and reinforcing machine guards. Helicopter bucketing continues to support ground crews and structural protection units (large sprinkler systems) are in operation.
- The Syringa Creek wildfire (N52548) covers about 1,766 hectares and is about 25% contained. Crews have established a fire guard on the southwest edge of this fire and are working toward the west flank. Helicopters continue bucketing water to maintain these guards.
- The Bulldog Mountain wildfire (N52497) covers about 1,589 hectares and is about 50% contained. Crews continue to patrol and mop up along the west guard and are focusing on strengthening the guard on part of the northwest flank.
To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call *5555 on a cellphone or 1 800 663-5555 toll-free. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca
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