Wildfire outside Kaslo smouldering after rainfall

Fire smouldering after rain

A large wildfire burning in the mountains above Kaslo, B.C. is smouldering after rainfall.

The Briggs Creek wildfire is still mapped at 1,679 hectares and has not grown in the past day.

The BC Wildfire Service says rain on the fire Thursday resulted in “some self-extinguishing.”

“This fire remains at high elevation and continues to burn in steep terrain and as it slowly moves downslope it is met with a change in fuel type that is not as easy to burn,” the agency said.

While fire is described as a smouldering ground fire with slow spread, it remains very visible from the community of Kaslo. Residents are being advised that at night the fire may appear closer than it actually is.

“Ground crews continue to monitor the fire late into the evening and early morning hours to ensure we are aware of any unwanted growth,” BCWS said.

The steep terrain means heavy equipment cannot be used, and given the fire's remote location, makes aerial attacks too risky. . A helicopter is monitoring the blaze from the sky, but not bucketing.

“Bucketing in steep terrain can wash burning debris downslope, sending the fire down the slope instead of upwards, which is the usual direction that fire tends to burn. In steep terrain with heavy fuels like the Briggs Creek fire, crews on the ground are needed to bolster the work being done by aircraft. When crews are unable to safely access a fire, the chances of bucketing having a negative effect significantly increases.”

"Public and responder safety is our number one priority, and this includes the safety of the pilots," BCWS continued. "Flying is a high-risk activity, and sustained bucketing at high altitudes significantly increases that risk. The significant safety risk to both fixed and rotary wing pilots, no structures being threatened at this time, and the possibility of negative impacts are why residents are not seeing aerial resources on this incident."

Nine firefighters are assigned to the blaze, including an incident commander.

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