The wildfire situation for two small communities on the Arrow Lakes south of Revelstoke got worse by July 20 as two large wildfires on either side of the lake increased significantly in size.
The Octopus Creek wildfire on the east side of the lake 11 kilometres south of Fauquier has grown to 2,940 hectares. Also large is the Michaud Creek wildfire 21 kilometres south of Edgewood on the west side of the lake at 2,670 hectares. The Trozzo Creek wildfire in the Slocan Valley near Winlaw is at 742 hectares. Size estimates are as of July 20.
Fauquier is under evacuation order with many residents heading to an evacuation centre in Nakusp. Edgewood is on alert, and there are numerous specific evacuations at specific remote buildings. Check the Regional District of Central Kootenay website at www.rdck.ca for government emergency management information in the region.
Image: A link to photographer Ashley Vokyin’s photo of the Michaud Creek fire, which grew significantly in the wind event.
Authorities issued an evacuation order for Fauquier on July 20. There are evacuation orders in place in some areas, a highway closure on part of Highway 6, and essential service on the Needles–Fauquier cable ferry, at the moment. Conditions and orders will change, that’s just a snapshot.
On the afternoon of July 20, the provincial government released this information bulletin on the fires, and others further away in the Southeast Fire Centre. It has many more details on the current situation.
The current fire danger rating for Revelstoke is 5 or “extreme danger” on the July 20 danger class report.
Elevated winds paired with extremely dry fuels has increased the fire activity and rate of spread on the Octopus Creek wildfire (N51800). #BCWildfire Service crews were forced to pull off the fire because of the significant safety risk posed by aggressive fire activity. pic.twitter.com/wUYV57qx9E
— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) July 21, 2021
It paints a picture of a rough July 19, when wildfire crews battling the three big fires experienced wind conditions that drove fire growth and dangerous fire behaviour. There was a lot of new growth. They suffered setbacks, retreated, and did some defense.
The communities are small and remote, so there’s often not much outside media coverage there.
What to do?
Regional communities can suddenly have the problem of a large wildfire on their doorsteps.
On July 20, the fire danger rating for Revelstoke is 5 or “extreme danger.” An accidental fire can quickly exceed your ability to control it. Be careful.
It’s a reminder to be extra vigilant and mindful about fire safety, including educating yourself about preparedness, and about specific risk from your backcountry activities.