Although the forest fire on Octopus Mountain in Kootenay National Park continues to burn, its relatively steady size and cooler temperatures mean there has been no change in strategy by firefighting personnel from Parks Canada, BC Provincial Parks and the BC Wildfire Management Branch.
According to Parks Canada Communications Officer Omar McDadi, as of Friday, September 14, the fire had consumed roughly 932 hectares of land, however 35 millimetres of rain over the previous two weeks has been helpful in keeping the fire to a manageable size. There had been no notable increases in the number of personnel assigned to the fire, which straddles both Kootenay National Park and Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, and personnel are continuing with a observational strategy. As the nights grow longer, the period of daylight when the fire is typically most active will also reduce. Trails around Octopus Mountain remain closed until further notice.
Meanwhile, a fire that had burned near Brewer Creek, about 10 km west of Fairmont Hot Springs has been extinguished with the aid of 36 firefighters, 1 helicopter and five pieces of heavy equipment. According to the Wildfire Management Branch, it was first discovered on Monday, August 20 and suspected to have been caused by a lightning strike, the total size reached an estimated 25 hectares before being contained.
The fire danger rating for the East Kootenay has dropped to low as of September 7, according to the Southeast Fire Centre. While there are currently no fires burning near communities, an open burning prohibition — which prohibits the burning of any waste, slash or other material, the burning of stubble or grass, and the use of fireworks or burning barrels of any size or description — has been in effect since July 13 and will be lifted Wednesday, September 19 unless the public is otherwise notified.
Campers are reminded to keep their campfires no bigger than 0.5 metres by 0.5 metres in size. Any flammable debris must be removed from around the campfire, and either a hand tool or eight litres of water must be available nearby to extinguish the fire.
Smoky skies in the southern portions of the west and east Kootenays are due to wildfires burning in Washington and the Okanagan.
To report a wildfire or unattended campfire by calling *5555 on your cell phone or 1-800-663-5555 tollfree.
For more information on open fire restrictions, please visit www.bcwildfire.ca.