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Four small wildfires reported following thunderstorm

Several new wildfires were spotted in the East Kootenay and Creston Valley on Friday morning following Thursday night’s thunderstorm.

Two small fires were reported north of Creston, and another was spotted west of the community.

BC Wildfire Service officials said each of them is about 0.01 hectares in size.

Another fire, about 0.02 hectares, was reported south of Fort Steele.

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Details about other wildfires in our region can be found below.

Connel Ridge

The fire, about 23 kilometres south of Cranbrook, has grown to an estimated 1,504 hectares in size as of Friday morning.

A planned ignition did not go through on Thursday, as BC Wildfire officials said conditions were not favourable until the evening.

By that point, it was too late in the day to start the larger planned burn.

“The ignition specialist was able to direct some smaller ignitions closer to the fire perimeter to clean up the edges where we had the ability to complete the mission prior to grounding aircraft for the night,” said Wildfire officials. “The smaller ignition area was approximately 15 hectares in size.”

Secondary plans are being developed by the firefighting team, which officials say will involve containment lines being built along the north and south sides of the fire.

The ignitions will go ahead when conditions are right, which could be early next week.

As of Friday, 51 firefighters, 25 pieces of heavy equipment and 13 helicopters are on the scene, battling the flames.

Cummings Creek

The fire, about 5 kilometres west of Sparwood, has not grown much, and remains at an estimated 53 hectares.

“Over the past several days, fire activity has continued within the perimeter and some growth has been observed on the southwest flank,” said Wildfire Service officials. “The fire has backed into the wetter areas around the Cummings Creek and growth in the north and easterly directions has slowed, which has allowed the opportunity for crews to safely work on building limited access/egress routes.”

Officials said access to the fire is still limited, due to steep terrain and smokey conditions.

Meanwhile, crews are also working to protect the community in case the fire grows.

“The structure protection teams working in Sparwood have been conducting practice drills to set up structure protection sprinklers, pumps and bladders, and to practice water shuttling,” said Wildfire Service officials. “Residents may see an increase in activity today, but this is currently just to familiarize crews with operational areas and to test for efficiencies.”

As of Friday, 42 firefighters are on the scene to combat the fire along with two unit crews, 47 structural protection staff and eight operational support staff.

Weasel Creek

The cross-border fire in the Flathead Valley has grown to an estimated 1,087 hectares on the Canadian side as of Friday.

The fire, about 40 kilometres southeast of Baynes Lake, was initially discovered in Montana on July 30th. On August 4th, it crossed the border into B.C.

On Thursday, officials expanded the area restriction around the fire, to help keep the public safe while crews are working to fight the flames.

“We are expecting to see aggressive fire behaviour in the coming days and into the weekend as the temperatures remain high. Expected fire growth is primarily towards the east and northeast,” said the BC Wildfire Service.

Eight personnel with the Wildfire Service will be working to assess what they can do ahead of expected fire growth.

Some small hand ignitions may be used to fight the fire, if conditions allow.

Out of Control

  • Mount Evans – The fire has grown to about 33.5 hectares since it was first discovered on Monday. Officials said it was likely sparked by a lightning strike, about 29 kilometres southeast of Kimberley.
  • Gilnockie Provincial Park – The fire was first reported on Aug. 4th, east of Yahk and is believed to be caused by a lightning strike. The fire is currently two hectares.
  • Mount Docking – The 36-hectare fire was started by a lightning strike on July 30th. The fire is burning in the mountains east of Radium Hot Springs.
  • Stair Lakes – The 44-hectare wildfire northwest of Kimberley was first discovered on July 31st. Firefighting officials said the fire was likely caused by a lightning strike.

Under Control

  • Mount Nicholas – A 2.1-hectare blaze burning in the wilderness northeast of Wasa. Wildfire officials first discovered the lightning-caused fire was first discovered on Aug. 6th.
  • Hardie Creek – A 2-hectare fire that officials said was likely caused by a person. It was first discovered on Tuesday, south of Fairmont Hot Springs, and quickly contained by firefighters.
  • Six Mine Creek – The 55-hectare fire is being held in place by firefighters. Officials believe this fire was started by a person on Aug. 2nd.
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