Local firefighters from Teck, Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire and Rescue, and BC Wildfire Services helped bring a potentially dangerous wildfire near Trail under control.
The human-caused fire was reported around noon on Sunday, Aug. 13, but by 4:40 p.m. B.C. Wildfire Services (BCWS) downgraded the blaze, much to the relief of local residents and businesses.
However, the blaze is not yet considered out.
“I have to be clear on that,” said KBRFR Chief Dan Derby. “It’s probably going to be a week of hot spots, of working it, to make sure that the fire is out.”
The fire started on Teck property on the Warfield hill just above Highway 3B, near the Tunnel Pub and AJ Collision.
Regional Fire and Rescue set up a command post in the parking lot of the businesses. The Teck fire crew attacked the fire from the top while regional firefighters from Rossland, Warfield, Trail, Montrose and Fruitvale set up a line below the fire.
“I worked with BC Wildfire to get air support, and we had a couple machines, helicopters, in the air to support the fire, specifically on the east flank,” explained Derby. “We had crews on the top, so we thought we were good there, we had a wetline across the bottom at the railway tracks, we felt we were good there, and they did the east flank to capture it and stop it from spreading.”
The west flank where the transmission lines stretched was the biggest concern for Derby. But a co-operative effort by ground crews from the top and bottom pinched off any access.
“Within a couple hours, we had a wet line around the fire, and then we just started working the fire; hot, dirty work.”
Derby also confirmed that Teck Fire Department was monitoring the site for hot spots over night.
“We (KBRFR) went back a couple of times with them just for hot spots, and we have wetline sprinklers around most of the fire, so that’s just a real safety net.”
The quick response and co-ordination of the various fire crews certainly helped avoid potential disaster, said Derby.
“Our inter-agency training that we work hard on with wildfire that paid off in spades. I’m super proud of the work the firefighters did and the relationships we have paid off together.”
According to wildfire statistics there have been 1,791 fires in B.C. this year, 377 are active, and there have been 11 fires reported in the past 24 hours. A total of 68 fires have been reported in the Southeast Fire Centre.