Sicamous evacuation order extended at least a week as wildfires hold steady: Mayor

The evacuation order for some Sicamous residents will be extended for at least another week, according to the District of Sicamous.

The evacuation order for some Sicamous residents will be extended for at least another week, according to the District of Sicamous.

“That’s the response we got from the crews that are up there right now,” said Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz.

“We are going to hold this evacuation order in place for a minimum of seven to 10 days. I know (residents) are not going to like hearing this, but we are taking the advice from the professionals.”

Read more:
Nk’Mip Creek wildfire: 126 more properties ordered to evacuate

There is little to no accommodation for evacuees in Sicamous some evacuees said off-camera, but declined interviews.

Rysz is asking Sicamous residents who may have extra space in their homes to help out.

“At the seniors center, they are taking information of people that can put their home up, and please if you have that space, give the community some help,” said Rysz.

The Two Mile Road wildfire did not grow overnight, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

Read more:
Smoky skies hindering aviation assistance in Michaud, Octopus Creek wildfires

However, the Sicamous Fire Department’s chief said there is concern with the north flank of the fire at Sicamous Creek.

“The terrain is very steep and difficult, as you can imagine,” said Brett Oringo, Sicamous’ fire chief.

“If it were to cross, we would then have a fire coming around the backside of Sicamous and that would not be good — there is a threat that it can cross (the creek).”

Thirty-two B.C. wildfire firefighters along with 15 Sicamous firefighters are battling the blaze.

They say the fire is still very active and out of control, and is still estimated to be 1,000 hectares in size.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Smoky skies hindering aviation assistance in Michaud, Octopus Creek wildfires

A trio of wildfires burning along Lower Arrow Lake in B.C.’s Interior have been grouped into one complex.

The Arrow Lake Complex includes the Michaud Creek, Octopus Creek and Renata Creek wildfires, and are now being overseen by one team instead of separately.

The Michaud Creek fire is listed at 4,600 hectares, while the nearby — but across the lake — Octopus Creek fire is estimated at 11,444 hectares. Slightly south, the Renata Creek fire is at 2,196 hectares.

Read more:
Evacuation order issued for B.C. communities of Edgewood, Needles due to nearby wildfire

Combined, there are two large evacuation orders affecting the communities of Edgewood, Needles and Fauquier.

A fire information officer said the fires were 100 per cent smoked in on Saturday, resulting in good and bad news.

“Fortunately, that means there’s a lot less wind,” said fire information officer Caroline Charbonneau.

“And the smoke actually covers the fire, which helps decrease fire behaviour because the sun can’t affect it by heating it up.”

The downside, though is no aerial assistance until the smoke clears.

On Wednesday, the Regional District of Central Kootenay expanded its evacuation order in Electoral Area K for the Michaud Creek wildfire. The expansion included the communities of Edgewood and Needles, north to Whatshan Lake for a total of 356 properties.

A list of the affected addresses can be found on the regional district’s website.

Meanwhile, an evacuation alert was issued on Wednesday for the Renata Creek wildfire, which is around eight kilometres west of Renata.

And on Tuesday, an evacuation order was issued for the community of Fauquier because of the Octopus Creek wildfire.

Regarding how many firefighters are battling the fires, two firefighters are on scene for Michaud Creek and 21 firefighters for Octopus Creek. More resources have been requested, and it’s hoped they’ll arrive soon.

The terrain is described as rugged and hilly, with very little access.

According to BC Wildfire, the Michaud Creek fire has seen minimal growth since Tuesday and is around 13.5 kilometres from the south edge of Edgewood.

The Octopus Creek wildfire is listed as being 11 km south of Fauquier.

On Friday, the Regional District of Central Kootenay held an online public information session. That video can be seen on the regional district’s website.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Winnipeg's domestic travel takes flight as airport gets ready for international travellers

The Winnipeg Airports Authority anticipates it won’t be long before the halls of James Richardson International buzz with more activity.

The airport can accept international flights again on August 9, as Canada opens up its borders to non-essential travel for fully-vaccinated U.S. visitors, with immunized international visitors permitted in early September.

Domestic travel has already picked up, in stride with Manitoba’s loosening of restrictions and the province’s increasing vaccination levels, Tyler McAfee of the Winnipeg Airports Authority told CJOB.

Read more:
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Passenger traffic is reaching around 4,000 people a day at the airport, a far cry from what it was pre-pandemic when around three times that number would pass through the airport’s doors this time of year. However, the count marks a drastic increase from its pandemic low of around 100 travellers per day.

McAfee said 2020 along with this year were tough on the aviation industry, but the forecast is looking up.

“We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is really positive,” he said.

Twenty per cent of countries around the world are back to at least 90 per cent of their pre-pandemic domestic flight levels, a report from the Mastercard Economics Institute said, a rebound from 2020 that saw the global airline industry suffer $352 billion in losses.

Canada’s August 9 reopening won’t be without its challenges as the industry undertakes extensive preparation, McAfee said.

“It’s not as easy as flipping a switch, however,” he said. “The airlines need some time just to allocate the aircrafts to those routes and to get the pilots back.”

The airport’s U.S. carriers, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, were forced to close up shop throughout the pandemic, but McAfee said they have some work ahead of them to get crews back in place.

“They certainly want to be back in this market, which I think is a really positive thing for our community.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Manitoba farm groups urge producers to explore alternative uses for crops as drought continues

A coalition of Manitoba farming organizations is urging crop producers to explore alternative uses for their yields amid the devastating drought.

“With drought conditions reported across Manitoba, we recognize the detrimental impacts across the crop and livestock sectors,” said Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA) chair Fred Greig in a news release.

“Producers need to know their options so they can make the best business decision for their operation.”

Before making any decisions, the groups say farmers should get in touch with Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) to ask about putting crops to alternative use.

Read more:
Extreme drought pushing Manitoba farmers to the brink

“All of this process needs to happen relatively quickly, insomuch as these crops are maturing, dying, and are at their most potential when they have a bit of moisture left in them,” Bill Campbell, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers, tells Global News.

“I would suggest in light of where Manitoba’s at, there might be more potential to make more money by selling it as green feed.”

According to the MASC website, producers should have an adjustor appraise the crop prior to it being cut, but if timing doesn’t allow, they should instead leave a 10-foot-wide strip the full length of the field for every 40 acres, so it can be assessed later.

“The appraisal determined by the adjustor will be used to finalize the insurance claim and will be included when calculating your future coverage,” the MASC website reads.

“For example, if the appraisal is 20 bushels per acre and you elect to cut it for feed, MASC will count these 20 bushels per acre as if it were harvested for grain.”

The authors add that the proceeds from alternate use production are not part of the crop claim calculation.

Read more:
Could this be Manitoba’s driest year on record?

“So (MASC is) not forcing you into waiting for the crop to be harvested or when it’s matured. Because we all know that the yield will go down as the moisture comes out of the crop and we’re left with a very lightweight product and straw,” Campbell says, adding that in many cases, harvesting the crop as green feed or silage will be the best option.

In the meantime, Campbell suggests farmers network to try to find buyers for their yields, whether that be through Facebook, Kijiji, the government’s hay listing service, or simply by hopping in their vehicle and driving around.

Perhaps now more than ever, Campbell says farmers need to rely on each other for support.

“Have that conversation: ‘how you doing?’ Stop in with somebody and just see how things are going,” Campbell says.

“I think through COVID and all kinds of issues, we can feel like we’re isolated, and the world is on my shoulders, but there’s a lot of people in similar situations, and if we can just speak about it and help them out and reach out.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Magrath town celebration sees huge turnout after a year away

WATCH ABOVE: After the postponement of one of Magrath’s biggest even last year, people from the small farming community in southern Alberta were ready to party. Jessica Robb took in the Magrath Days celebration.

The town of Magrath was alive on Saturday as people took to the streets to celebrate Magrath Days.

The annual town celebration was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. So this year, people had a lot of catching up to do.

Read more:
Southern Alberta town of Magrath draws large crowd for annual parade

“We’re from Magrath, we love Magrath, we love the community, and we love the events,” said resident Harold Murray.

The day kicked off with a parade. Kids lined the streets, eagerly waiting for candy from one of the many floats to be thrown their way.

After the parade, people could take part in one of the many family-friendly events. There was a Spikeball tournament, lawnmower race, mechanical bull riding, or simply grabbing a snack from one of the food trucks set up outside the Ice Arena.

Brooklyn Lamb was one of the vendors. She started her cookie company, Hey Dough Cookie Co., during the pandemic.

“It’s the first event that I’ve done,” she said. “I thought Magrath days would be the perfect place to start and it’s been great. Small towns are so fun and it’s been great to feel a little more normal again.”

Read more:
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It was a feeling that was echoed by others taking part in the festivities.

“It feels really good,” said Murray. “Families can come together for reunions and just all be together again.”

“Good to see people, reconnect again,” said attendee Jim Olsen. “It’s been a long time. And it’s good to see people’s faces!”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Edmonton Elks: Training Camp Day 15 gives players chance to rise above the pack

A week from Saturday, the 2021 version of the Edmonton Elks will have made their final roster cuts for the regular season.

Without any pre-season games to assist in those all-important decisions, the next best event will be Sunday’s scrimmage.

From an evaluation standpoint, head coach Jamie Elizondo says the scrimmage will be extremely important in shaping the roster.

“There’s a lot of jobs on the line, there is great competition in a lot of positions, so I’m looking forward to seeing some separation,” Elizondo said. “See who takes a step forward and who takes a step back when the lights come on, so to speak.”

Read more:
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The Elks were supposed to have their first scrimmage last Saturday but injury concerns combined with the poor air quality in Edmonton shelved those plans.

Elizondo says he and the coaching staff have altered the structure of Sunday’s scrimmage somewhat.

There are still some injuries the team is dealing with so the physicality will be dialed back a bit. The starters will get to see limited action, 10-12 snaps, according to Elizondo, and 40-50 for the rest of the group.

The door has opened for some in camp because of injuries to some projected starters.

Take the offensive line, for example, where SirVincent Rogers hasn’t practiced since the middle of the first week and camp. Kyle Saxelid hasn’t seen action in about a week.

Both started camp at the tackle spots, but since then, it’s opened the door to the likes of Steven Nielsen. The Global player was taken by the Elks second overall in April’s Global Draft.

There is room for one Global spot on the roster, with some spots open on the team’s practice roster.

Nielsen, who has already attended an NFL camp after college career at Eastern Michigan, has played primarily at right tackle with the starting group and says Sunday will have a game-day feel.

“Of course it does but I think I want to approach it like every other practice,” Nielsen said. “I’ve been practicing really well so far and I want to keep that up. It is more like a game-day so I’m going to step up my tempo a little bit.”

Read more:
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Veteran defensive tackle Mike Moore currently doesn’t play very much during the scrimmage but says it will be vital to get the game-day routine with no pre-season games.

“You got to get that game-time mindset before the game,” Moore said. “What you are going to do pre-game and before you go on the field. This is going to be very important and we need this.”

Player profile

9 – Mathieu Betts, DL, 6’3, 250 pounds, 26 Laval

Edmonton Elks DE Mathieu Betts during 2021 training camp on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.

Edmonton Elks DE Mathieu Betts during 2021 training camp on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.

COURTESY: Edmonton Elks

In his first training camp with the Elks, Mathieu Betts has been good. Good enough to earn some high praise from head coach and offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo.

“One of the fundamentals and principles that we want to be based on defensively is our chase and our pursuit. As a team, we want to be around the ball better than any other team, and Betts sets that standard every day. All you have to do is watch practice and that guy is going 100 miles an hour every day.”

The coach pointed out that Betts’ game has also been very consistent through the first two weeks of camp.

“Betts shows up to work every day giving great effort,” Elizondo said.

The 6 foot 4 inches, 250 pound defensive end from Montreal was selected by the Elks in the CFL Canadian draft third overall in 2019.

He had already signed as a free agent with the NFL’s Chicago Bears, where he stayed until the final cuts of training camp in September of 2019.

The 26-year-old then came north to join the Double E and played six games, starting once in the back half of the season recording one defensive tackle, two quarterback sacks and one forced fumble.

In his second year, he is excited to work with the veteran defensive ends on the Elks roster.

Read more:
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“I think we have a really good group of defensive lineman, obviously Kwaku (Boateng) has been here for a while and we have Shawn Lemon who has almost 10 years experience in the CFL,” Betts said. “I’m just trying to learn from these guys. We pride ourselves in being a good D-line but also having a really great group of d-linemen.”

At the start of his career, Betts is just beginning to rack up sacks with two so far. Add in Boateng’s 21 and 70 more from Lemon and the Elks could be in a position to put together a pretty potent rotation of defensive ends for 2021.

Injury notes

After taking a day off on Friday, defensive back Aaron Grymes took full first team reps on Saturday.

Fellow defensive back Jonathon Mincy was back with the starting defence after missing about a week of action.

Linebacker Brian Walker didn’t practice on Saturday while offensive linemen SirVincent Rogers and Kyle Saxelid along with receiver Tevaun Smith.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Climate activists shut down Vancouver bridge, link climate change to B.C. fires

Climate activists shut down Vancouver’s Burrard Street Bridge on Saturday as they sought to draw attention to the links between climate change and the wildfires ravaging B.C.’s interior.

Members and supporters of the group Extinction Rebellion rallied at Seaforth Peace Park, south of the bridge, where they collected donations for the Lytton First Nation, whose community was devastated by a fire on June 30.

The group had planned to march onto the bridge, but instead occupied the intersection of Burrard and Cornwall Streets amid significant police presence.

Read more:
Group of scientists concludes climate change made B.C., Alberta heat wave 150 times more likely

“We are bridging the gap and connecting the dots between the destruction of our forests and the heat waves destroying wildlife, towns, and human lives,” the group said ahead of occupying the bridge.

Demonstrators say the provincial and federal governments have failed to treat climate change as an emergency, contrasting action on the file to the sweeping and disruptive measures taken to address COVID-19.

Earlier this month, an international group of scientists argued the heat wave that roasted B.C. in late June and early July — setting all-time Canadian temperature records — could not have happened without climate change.

READ MORE: Report warns of ‘large gaps’ in Canada’s preparedness for climate change disasters 

The BC Coroners Service says that heat wave may have contributed to as many as 600 deaths in a single week.

It also helped produce extremely dry conditions in B.C.’s interior, setting the stage for the more than 250 fires burning as of Saturday.

Vancouver police urged drivers to avoid the area and predicted significant delays.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Crews battle wildfire west of Calgary near Lac Des Arcs

Fire crews continued to battle a wildfire west of Calgary on Saturday that could be seen from the Trans Canada highway.

The work continued all day Saturday with helicopters trying to extinguish the fire from the air while crews on the ground made sure it didn’t spread.

At 5 p.m. Friday, first responders were alerted to the fire that started close to Trans Canada highway, near Lac Des Arcs.

Razors Edge Trail in Bow Valley Provincial Park was closed due to the nearby fire.

Read more:
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“It caught my eye right away as we were coming through,” said Mark Lang on Saturday. The volunteer firefighter with the Crossfield Fire Department was was on his way to the Lac Des Arcs campground when he saw the smoke near the highway east of the Heart Creek Trail Head.

He said it looked like the fire started in the ditch and RCMP were controlling traffic in the area.

“Coming from the east side, so outside of Calgary, you would have a definite haze from all the other forest fires, but this was growing in intense colouring,” Lang said.

The wind caused the fire to spread to the east, covering around 10 hectares.

By Saturday morning, the fire was classified as held, according to Alberta Wildfire information officer Derrick Forsythe. There is no word yet on what started the fire near Lac Des Arcs.

“There is such a heavy fire load in the area and, of course, with dry conditions, but they definitely had a really quick handle on it. You could tell they were getting it knocked down. The smoke was going from darker colours to whiter colors. They did a great job for sure,” Lang said.

Read more:
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Alberta Wildfire officials say the fire hazard in northern Alberta is low because of rain and cooling temperatures but ranges from high to extreme in the southern part of the province.

“Our statistics from last year show that 88 per cent of all wildfires in Alberta were related to some human caused activity. So given the conditions in the south with really high danger ratings, we are just asking everybody to take extra care with whatever you were doing on the landscape over the coming weeks to ensure that we minimize the risk of any new starts,” Forsythe said.

He reminds campers that a fire advisory remains in effect in the southern portions of the Calgary Forest Area.

Under this restriction:

  • Existing fire permits are suspended;
  • All outdoor fires presently burning under permit must be extinguished, unless approved to continue by a Forest Officer;
  • Safe wood campfires within fire rings in campgrounds and backyard fire pits are allowed.


  • Wood campfires on public land;
  • Fireworks and exploding targets.


  • Wood campfires on private land;
  • Wood campfires within provincial campgrounds in a designated campfire ring;
  • Backyard fire pits on private land;
  • Charcoal briquette barbeques;
  • Propane or natural gas-fueled appliances;
  • Indoor wood fires;
  • Open flame oil devices.

As of Saturday morning, there were 58 wildfires burning across Alberta, three of which were out of control.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Victoria company offers helping hand to live arts with free postering campaign

For 20 years, Metropol in Victoria built its business helping artists promote their live shows. But when the pandemic hit, concerts ended and that part of the business disappeared. Now with restrictions lifting, the company is helping artists get back on their feet, putting up posters for upcoming concerts for free. Kylie Stanton reports.

As pandemic restrictions ease in British Columbia, artists and musicians are beginning to hit the stage again.

“Everyone misses the excitement of a live stage, we’re really excited to get back,” said Morgan Brooker, who manages musicians in Victoria.

“We’ve done some smaller shows, we’ve done some live streams, but it’s not that feeling you have with the connection of a big crowd.”

Read more:
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While artists are keen for that live rush again, getting back on the stage isn’t always easy. Eighteen months of cancelled shows has put a big hole in the budgets of small performers.

Now one Victoria printing company is stepping up to help the struggling arts industry get back onto its feet.

Metropol Industries CEO Steve Webb said the company built its success over two decades in large part through promoting upcoming concerts and shows in the capital region.

Now its offering to print and post those same posters for free as live events gear back up.

“The idea that bubbled up was, are we able to provide this as a community service, to these people, these arts groups, these business that have been with us for 19 years, that grew with us and supported us,” Webb said.

Read more:
COVID-19 taking heavy toll on B.C.’s working musicians

Webb said having posters printed and posted around the city would usually cost an event a few hundred dollars.

That’s money he says can now stay in the pockets of artists, venues and others working in the hard-hit industry.

“How many of those people would have called us and paid for postering? I’d say maybe 15 per cent,” he said.

“Just given what the costs are right now. We’re dealing with venues that have decreased capacity, we’re dealing with people out there who might be uncomfortable going out to these types of events.”

Read more:
COVID-19: B.C. businesses gear up as pandemic restrictions relaxed

He said despite government grants, 2020 and 2021 have been lean years for artists, and even a small break like this will help them get back on their feet.

“Doing this whole thing to reinvigorate the music industry and do free postering is amazing,” he said.

“And just me as a music fan, walking around downtown and seeing that there’s posters up and new music that I may not have heard about on Facebook or anything, it’s fantastic.”

Webb said about 40 local acts have taken the business up on its postering offer.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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