- Our Town
Rains cool down fire risk near Revelstoke
Weekend rain helped wildfire crews suppress a blaze on Kinbasket Lake north of Golden.
23 millimetres of rain fell on a fire that is burning on the west shore of Kinbasket Lake, about 80 kilometres northwest of Golden, said Jordan Turner, a fire information officer with the Southeast Fire Centre.
“It’s done a lot to bring down the fire behaviour, but with the rain we did receive, a little further south there was a washout on one of the bridges,” he said Monday morning.
The Kinbasket fire started on Thursday, July 10. A mix of government and contract crews quickly attacked the fire and by the end of that weekend they had it in the mop-up phase.
However, on Monday, July 14, a thunderstorm came in from the northeast and brought with it 80–100 km/h winds, causing the fire to expand rapidly, said Brad Litke, a Revelstoke-based fire protection officer with the Wildfire Management Branch.
“The wind effect that came off that cell was enormous,” said Litke Thursday morning. “We have crews that were overnighting there that had to tactically re-position.”
The storm snapped trees and caused the fire to increase to 40 hectares in size. The fire went from being in the mop-up stage to being under expanded attack, with 38 firefighters on scene.
“We’ve got ministry, we’ve got fireline contractors and we’ve got industry crews — it’s a collaborative approach,” said Litke last week.
Fortunately for firefighters, weeks of hot and dry weather ended over the weekend and rain come through the area. Still, the fire continues to burn and with one of the bridges to the area out, new access options are being looked at, said Turner.
The rain lowered the fire danger rating throughout the Southeast Fire Centre. During the dry spell, the rating in most of the region was a mix of moderate and high, with pockets of extreme.
On Monday, the danger was down to low in the Big Bend country at the northern end of the region, with a mix of high and moderate throughout the rest of the southeast. The rain was expected to continue throughout the week, with dry weather returning on the weekend.
“This rain has been very helpful and allowed us to reset,” said Turner.
The two unit crews based in Revelstoke have been dispatched to the Prince George fire centre to help battle the large wildifres happening there.