New Fire Reported in Crawford Bay – UPDATED

 

UPDATE: Sunday morning, Sept 17: Carlee Kachman of Southeast Fire Centre reports that the skimmers hit the fire yesterday for many hours and today 2 initial attack crews of 6 personnel and 1 helicopter are attending the fire. They are setting up hose ways around the perimeter and getting established. They are not anticipating any issues with containment. The fire is not threatening any structures. The cause of the fire is now “Under Investigation”. Check wildfire bc’s website for the most current up-to-date information and fire statuses – http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status

Sept 16, 2017 – Crawford Bay: On Saturday afternoon on Sept 16, 2017, residents reported a fire in the Crawford Bay – Preacher Creek area above the transfer station. Southeast Fire Centre is not taking any more phone calls to report this fire and are attending to it. It appears to be a few kilometres from structures and not posing an immediate risk; however, residents have expressed concern and hope that response is thorough and complete before any further growth is seen.

Residents should be reminded that back-country access for off-road vehicles is still prohibited and recreational or industrial access is discouraged as our forested areas are still tinder-dry despite cooling temperatures.

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca

You can also follow the latest wildfire news on:

Photos courtesy of Mautz (Uwe) Kroker.

British Columbia Fireball – Sept 4, 2017

According to the American Meteor Society (www.amsmeteors.org) on September 4, 2017 at about 10:14, our small region had exceptional front row seats to an amazing light and sound show not normally seen. They report that they received hundreds of reports of a fireball event seen above BC. It was primarily seen from BC but also seen from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Washington, Idaho and Montana.

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According to their latest estimated trajectory, “The fireball travelled in a southeast to northwest direction, entering the atmosphere near Boswell and terminating near Meadow Creek.” It is astounding that despite that narrow trajectory, the sound and light were seen from thousands of kilometres around.

Hundreds of people took to social media to report their sightings and experiences. Videos, photos and excited experiences abound. https://alfred.camera/tv/Hy0V73iK-

 

Huge Thundering Noise and Flash of Light Seen by Many

At 10:15 on Sept 4, 2017, an enormous 30-second long thundering noise and flash of light was seen by many. At the time of writing, reports all along the East Shore and as far as Alberta were coming in on social media about the sound and light. We will soon see just how far these reports go… Videos, tweets, images and stories are coming in from all over BC and Alberta.

Speculations abound – meteor? Sonic boom? Jumbo jet? Watch for more details.

 

 

Tonight! Important Meeting Regarding CB Wetlands and Beach

Don’t miss the meeting tonight at 6pm at the CB Hall regarding Kokanee Springs land sale of the parcels connected to and including the CB wetlands and beach area.

See below for Garry Jackman’s article with pertinent information about this meeting…

Garry Jackman’s yet unedited article this month – pertains to tonight’s meeting, so please have a look…
 
RDCK Area A Update
CONTINUING ON OUTDOOR RECREATION
 
I want to provide more information on efforts to support outdoor activities based on amenities such as trails and beach/lake access points. As I noted last month, today there are 8 specific projects within Area A which connect to lakefront plus other projects to improve or extend trails. I will not repeat all of the detail as you can check my August submission for that information.
 
What I do want to cover this month is some of the mechanisms for identifying, planning and developing regional parks. First I want to provide a sense of how much taxation within the RDCK currently goes to support indoor and outdoor recreation. This needs to be viewed as a big picture when discussing regional sites which benefit locals plus visitors from our neighbouring communities or afar (tourists). The health, social and economic benefits of recreation will not be covered this month, neither will the conservation values of holding sensitive lands in the public realm or by partners with a conservation and stewardship mandate.
 
As you will usually hear me state during budget time, across the RDCK we have about 160 active services either supported individually or by groups of the 20 regional district partners (11 rural electoral areas plus 9 municipalities). Twenty five of these services are related to recreation. Why not combine some or all of them? That would be a big exercise and the topic does arise from time to time. Of the 25, three are localized recreation commissions (shared between a total of 6 partners) which do not fund buildings or capital but rather exist to support recreation programming, often through small grants to societies or clubs. Combined they requisitioned (through property tax) $91.5K in 2017, of which $35.4K was for Area A Rec 9.
 
There are 14 services which I would categorize as medium sized which support buildings (plus some outdoor rec) again in localized areas. These requisitioned $496.3K in 2017 but two of the services required no taxation, supporting their facilities with rents and grants. In addition, there are 4 services which support the larger recreation complexes; two services for the Castlegar and District complex which splits out the aquatic center as a separate service and one for each of the Creston and District and Nelson and District complexes. These services requisitioned almost $9.98 million dollars in 2017 to support both indoor and outdoor facilities. Note these facilities also have substantial revenues (rents and user fees) on top of the taxation. I worked up some charts on how these costs are distributed from community to community for the inevitable conversation around who benefits versus who pays. Overall I hope all residents of Area A can begin to understand what costs their neighbours down the highway currently face when we discuss regional park sites because we are definitely not all paying the same tax rates.
 
Looking at the big picture, so far this adds up to $10.56 million taxation within the RDCK focused on facilities and programs which are predominantly delivered within buildings or on groomed fields. In contrast the parks and trails services offer a less structured approach to recreation and access to nature. The RDCK has 4 regional parks services, some encompassing large areas with many partners and others like Area A which, for historic reasons, are stand alone. These services requisitioned $420.8K in taxation in 2017, with the Area A requisition being $28.5K. In the spring I recommended a $12.6K increase from the 2016 taxation of $15.9K in order to have funds on hand for consulting services and/or additional planning for Area A, since we now have 8 sites for lake access enhancement under consideration.
 
So that is my lead in to what RDCK parks planning staff do. The RDCK has operational and planning staff for parks. Our planner, who provided information at the August 23rd public meeting in Crawford bay, solicits public input on investing in parks development, uses consultants and/or in house resources to search titles (private land) and research possible other interest in the land (for example first nations interest in public land), create maps showing options, provide valuations, draft plans for usage of a site and report with recommendations to the RDCK board. Operational staff comment on whether local stewardship groups appear to be in place to minimize the level of operational costs on the taxpayer plus provide estimates for operational budgets if the land is to be fully managed by the RDCK. In the areas where there are several local government partners pooling their funds a ‘master plan’ approach is generally used so that public input on several sites can be received at the same time. The recent master planning processes around Nelson, Castlegar and South Slocan cost between $30K to $50K each and took one to two years to complete. I have been in discussion with potential local government service partners south of Area A around a joint master plan but the current opportunities in the Crawford bay area are prompting a closer look at this area in the short term.
 
Last month, I said I would provide more on cemetery services in September but that will need to wait for now. If you have questions or comments on any topic please drop a note to gjackman@rdck.bc.ca or call me at 250-223-8463.
Garry Jackman
RDCK Director Area A
Wynndel / East Shore Kootenay Lake

 

 

 

 

 

WildFires of Note (Southeast Fire Centre) – Update

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UPDATE – August 22, 2017
McCormick Creek Wildfire – Evacuation Order Reduced to Evacuation Alert 

In consultation with BC Wildfire Service, the Regional District of Central Kootenay will be reducing the Evacuation Order in the McCormick Creek wildfire area to an Evacuation Alert on August 22 at 6pm.

Residents will be allowed to return to their homes at 6pm tomorrow. Structural Protection Unit crews need unimpeded access to properties to safely remove their equipment from the area. Residents are advised that although they will be allowed to return to their homes, they will remain on Evacuation Alert and should be prepared to evacuate at a moments notice. The Evacuation Alert area to the north will be rescinded today at 6pm.

Highway 6 and the Nelway Border Crossing will also be opened on August 22 at 6pm.
For more information about Evacuation Orders and Alerts, and other information pertinent to evacuees, visit the evacuation information page on the RDCK’s website at:
http://www.rdck.ca/EN/main/services/emergency-management/evacuation-order-and-alert-page.html

Further wildfire information can be found on the RDCK’s wildfire information page at:
http://www.rdck.ca/EN/main/services/emergency-management/wildfires.html

UPDATE – AUGUST 17, 2017: 

All Evacuation Orders and Alerts Remain in the RDCK

BC Wildfire Service reports no rapid growth to the current wildfires being fought in the RDCK area. However, due to upcoming weather conditions, it’s been advised that all Evacuation Orders and Alerts remain in place until fires are deemed contained and safe. These include:

Rapid Creek Wildfire – Evacuation Alert
McCormick Creek Wildfire – Evacuation Order
McCormick Creek Wildfire – Evacuation Alert

Visit the new RDCK Evacuation Information web page that provides current updates for all Evacuation Orders, Alerts, Rescinds and information specific to evacuees. Go to: http://www.rdck.ca/EN/main/services/emergency-management/evacuation-order-and-alert-page.html

During urban interface fire threats, the BC Wildfire Service will call on our Structure Protection crews to protect homes, businesses, farms, utilities and other assets. These specialized crews are trained and certified and can be deployed to any location in BC or elsewhere.

With concern for homes in affected areas including Poplar Creek, Harrop Proctor and Nelway/Rosebud Lake areas, BC Wildfire Service put out a request for structure protection to the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC). The OFC deployed a crew from various RDCK fire departments which included Balfour Harrop, Beasley, Blewett, Canyon Lister, Kaslo, North Shore, Ootischenia and Tarrys Volunteer Fire Departments.

Crews set up exterior sprinkler systems to each structure with reservoir that creates a humidity bubble and wets the roof area as well as the areas surrounding the structure. This mitigates the damage from sparks and approaching wildfire.

The RDCK is proud of the level of training our firefighters have achieved and their diligence in keeping our community safe. We’d also like to extend a huge thank you to BC Wildfire Service and their hardworking crews, along with the Australian Incident Management team that have been flown in to assist.

August 16, 2017: North Shore Evacuation Alert Rescinded:

The Evacuation Alert for a portion of the North Shore has been rescinded. The alert was issued in response to the Kokanee Creek fire, started by lightning over the weekend.

B.C. Wildfire Service advised the Regional District of Central Kootenay on Tuesday afternoon that the threat posed by the fire has diminished enough to allow for the rescind of the alert.

The Evacuation Alert and Evacuation Order remain in place for the McCormick Creek wildfire.

The Evacuation Alert remains in place for the Rapid Creek wildfire.

UPDATED: Aug 16, 2017:  Wildfire Crews Making Headway on Fire Suppression

MORLEY CREEK WILDFIRE (Previously named KOKANEE CREEK WILDFIRE)
Approximate size: 80 hectares. The weather has been extremely helpful in suppressing growth of wildfire with the recent 22-25 mm of rain. BC Wildfire Service reports that air and ground crews continue with their direct attack techniques as conditions allow.
As of noon yesterday, the Evacuation Alert for 135 residents was rescinded, but we ask residents to continue to remain vigilant.

MCCORMICK CREEK WILDFIRE
Approximate size: 337 hectares
BC Wildfire Service reports that the fire is 40% contained with ground and aerial crews continuing to work to suppress the fire. Fifty-one personnel are on site today building fire guards with the aid of 4 helicopters and 12 pieces of heavy equipment. There was no significant growth overnight on this fire and no structures have been lost.
Highway 6NS remains closed in both directions between the BC/Washington border and the Junction with Highway 3. The Nelway Border crossing remains closed and there is a detour via Highway 3 to Creston. All Evacuation Alerts and Orders remain in place at this time with no new alerts to report.

HARROP CREEK WILDFIRE
Approximate size: 2,500 hectares. This fire is currently burning in steep and complex terrain. Reports from the Australian Incident Management team confirm that the fire is in ‘mop-up’ stage and may be contained with the next few days, weather permitting.
The Harrop Mainline Forest Service Road and East Harrop Mainline Forest Service Road are closed to the public at this time to aid in fire suppression efforts and to keep the public safe. The fire continues to produce large amounts of smoke and will be highly visible in and around the West Arm of Kootenay Lake. People with respiratory issues may wish to contact their health professionals.

RAPID CREEK WILDFIRE
Approximate size: 500 hectares. BC Wildfire crews continue to monitor the fire and have not seen significant change. The Evacuation Alert remains in place at this time.
The RDCK would like to emphasize the importance of staying clear of firefighter personnel, vehicles and equipment in the area and on forest service roads. Road closures have been put in place for life safety reasons and must be obeyed.
Visit BC Wildfire website to view maps and updates

The RDCK EOC will provide further updates as information becomes available.

 

Shambhala Festival to Shut Down 24 Hours Early

UPDATE: Emergency personnel disagree with decision to re-open Shambhala

Organizers have told people they can stay

The party is back on at the Shambhala Music Festival as organizers have told people they can stay.

While many festival goers have already left, organizers say that the overnight rain was behind the decision.

In a post shared on Facebook late Sunday morning, organizer Jenna Arpita said that the festival will go on. The Salmo River Ranch remains under evacuation alert.

“After hours of meetings and consultation this morning, the Regional District of Central Kootenay, other local government and a fire behavioural analyst, we have been approved for Shambhala Music Festival to remain open for our final night,” she stated. “We invite all our guests to stay and celebrate with us for the final night of our 20th annual Shambhala Music Festival.”

However regional fire Chief Andrew Bellerby said that the RDCK did not approve of the decision to re-open the festival. On Saturday, they had recommended closing the festival a day early.

Shambhala To Close Early

by Ingrid Baetzel, Editor

August 12, 2017, 4pm: The McCormick Fire in the Salmo area is currently sitting at approximately 350 hectares. On Aug 11, the fire took a pretty good run and crossed the Salmo River. Crews are currently on site, including helicopters, planes and ground crew, attending to fuel cells and difficult situations.

Image result for mccormick fire salmo shambhala

Due to the change in the fire direction, 39 properties in the Nelway area were put under evacuation order and the US/Canada border crossing was closed.

This evacuation order triggered putting Shambhala on emergency alert, which happened on the morning of Aug 12.

Image result for mccormick fire salmo shambhala

As a result of meetings of key organisers and responders on the afternoon of August 12, it was agreed that the festival would shut down a day earlier. Saturday night (Aug 12) will be final night and Sunday night will not run. Festival goers are being encouraged to evacuate the premises by Sunday morning as the grounds shut down. 

Jimmy Bundschuh, Shambahala organiser, spoke about the worsening fire situation and the difficult decision to notify guests to depart the site Sunday morning. “Our hope is that our guests get prepared today, get packed before getting to bed tonight and are well rested for a safe exit tomorrow morning,” said Bundschuh.

When Bundschuh was asked about the financial impact of this change to the festival plans, he commented that it would have a huge impact for festival. He stated that the many craft and food vendors would be losing out considerably. Sunday sales for locals will not occur as they normally do. He said, “I estimate that we’re looking at least at a half million in lost revenue. This is a major decision on our part and we are trusting the team in charge that this is warranted. Public safety is number one priority.”

Travelers should expect a considerable increase in traffic on area roads and the Kootenay Lake Ferry over the next two days or so and those intending to go to the festival for Sunday only should know that there will be no performances after Saturday night.