A forest fire continues to burn on Octopus Mountain in Kootenay National Park and had reached 676 hectares in size by Monday (August 27).
“Right now the fire is doing exactly what we expected it to do, moving in the direction that we thought it would,” said Parks Canada fire information officer Dani McIntosh. “It’s well within the containment area that we’re looking at.”
First discovered on the evening of August 12, the fire is suspected to have started much earlier as a result of a holdover fire from a lightning strike.
Thanks to the wet summer conditions Kootenay National Park has seen, it’s unlikely to grow to a truly massive size, and McIntosh said that with cooler temperatures incoming they were expecting the trend of the 50-hectare-a-day growth of the fire to cease.
“We have a lot of room to let it play out in the landscape because there is no threat to public safety or infrastructure,” McIntosh said. “We’ll closely monitor it to make sure that doesn’t change, but in the meantime letting it play out on the landscape a bit really helps to meet our ecological objectives.”
About 15 personnel are attending the fire, split between an eight-person ground crew and an overarching logistical team.
As the fire falls into what is known as a “green” zone, McIntosh said that current action involves monitoring the fire closely to ensure it doesn’t behave unexpectedly, but otherwise letting the fire burn unabated.
There are two other zones the fire could fall into, largely dependant on proximity to any sort of development — yellow zones require some action while red zones require immediate action.
Currently, the Parks Canada team are using three helicopters to monitor the Octopus Mountain fire and have done a small amount of bucketing to keep the fire boundaries in check.
The fire has also spilled over into Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, allowing BC Parks personnel to also assist with monitoring efforts. McIntosh said there have been eight reported fires in Kootenay National Park since the beginning of August.
For fire updates from the Southeast Fire Centre, visit bcwildfire.ca.