The Doctor Creek fire, 25 kilometres southwest of Canal Flats continues to be considered a Wildfire of Note to the BC Wildfire Service.
Discovered on Tuesday, August 18, the fire was mapped at 3,017 hectares over the weekend, and there are 82 firefighters, seven helicopters and five pieces of heavy equipment working on the blaze.
On Sunday, August 23, BC Wildfire Reports that one of those helicopters got quite close to people at Columere Park Beach on Columbia Lake.
“On the afternoon of August 23, 2020, a helicopter that was conducting bucketing operations for the Doctor Creek wildfire (N21257) neared the Columere Park beach on Columbia Lake. This incident took place while the pilot was attempting to pick up water and experienced a mechanical malfunction with the helicopter bucket,” BC Wildfire Service posted on social media. “Residents and recreationalists in the Columere Park area may have experienced strong downwash winds as a result. The BC Wildfire Service is conducting an investigation into the incident. The safety of both the public and responders is our top priority, and we apologize for any concern that was generated.”
Over the weekend ground crews were working with the support of heavy equipment and aviation resources. Crews continue to construct control lines north and south of Doctor Creek with support from small planned ignitions operations to reinforce lines. Helicopters continue to bucket water on the fire to help cool areas of increased activity. Suppression efforts are currently concentrated on the east flank of the fire.
Smoke from this fire may be is visible from Canal Flats, other nearby communities and highway 93/95, especially during peak daytime temperatures. A smoky skies bulletin was issued for much of the East Kootenay due to the Doctor Creek fire.
The fire is burning in steep and rocky terrain. There was limited growth on the fire Saturday and movement has been mostly uphill and away from infrastructure in recent days. Structure protection systems are in use near the fire as a precautionary measure.
An area restriction is in effect for the area of the fire. The area restriction begins at the junction of Highway 93/95 and Findlay Creek Road, south and west following the Skookumchuck Creek Forest Service Road to Buhl Creek, northwest following the height of land to Doctor Peak, continuing north to Mount St. Maur, east following the Dutch Creek drainage, then south following Highway 93/95 back to the point at the Highway 93/95 and Findlay Creek Road junction.
The RDEK reports that at this time all other fires in the East Kootenay are listed as under control.