Smoke obscures the view in Castlegar in this file photo taken earlier in August. (Photo by Betsy Kline)

More smoke for Castlegar and area expected

Wildfire Service planning controlled burns on Bulldog Mountain fire west of city.

After a few days’ respite, forest fire smoke may be about to return to the Lower Columbia valley this weekend.

And this time, it’s partly man-made.

The BC Wildfire service says weather permitting, it’s going to conduct planned ignitions on the Bulldog Mountain wildfire, located about 30 kilometres west of Castlegar.

The planned burns will begin as early as Friday, if wind and other fire conditions allow. The burns will be monitored by BCWS crews at all times.

“Residents of nearby communities are advised that smoke will be highly visible from Deer Park, Robson and Castlegar,” BCWS warns. “This planned ignition will burn off forest fuels between established control lines and the fire perimeter, and will help enhance the overall safety, efficiency and effectiveness of fire-management efforts.”

The 1,500-hectare fire, discovered August 11, has prompted evacuation orders and alerts, and area closures along the western shore of the Arrow Lakes, near the communities of Renata and Brooklyn.

The Wildfire Service currently has nine firefighters and nine helicopters fighting the fire.

A release from the BCWS Thursday said crews were making solid progress building and improving guard lines round the fire.

“The guard on a small section to the northwest needs to be improved adjacent to the community of Renata. [M]onitoring will continue on the guard adjacent to Renata,” the Service said.

“The crew will begin cutting line on the west flank… The fire perimeter is regularly being monitored from the air. Visibility in recent days has been good.”

The BCWS says recent rains have been light in the area however, and with higher temperatures and wind forecast for the next few days, locals may see increasing fire behaviour.

For more information about the Bulldog Mountain area evacuation order and evacuation alert, please visit the Regional District of Central Kootenay website.

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The Regional District of Central Kootenay downgraded the evacuation order to an alert for some areas around Bulldog Mountain this week. (Map courtesy RDCK)

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