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HomeNewsFirefighters continue efforts against East Kootenay wildfires

Firefighters continue efforts against East Kootenay wildfires

Several small wildfires spotted on Friday and through the weekend have been snuffed out, while crews remain active on the region’s three significant fires.

You can find detailed updates on local wildfires below.

Connel Ridge

The fire, about 23 kilometres south of Cranbrook, has grown to an estimated 1,700 hectares in size as of Monday.

BC Wildfire Service officials said minimal fire activity was seen on Sunday, in some areas.

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This allowed crews to fight fire with fire.

“Some ignition operations occurred yesterday [Sunday] to bring fire to containment lines, which did produce an increase in smoke that was visible to nearby communities,” said officials.

Planned burns will continue, as conditions allow.

“Crews will be preparing for small ignition operations on the northwest flank of the fire in order to bring fire to the guard and gain more continuous containment in that area of the fire. In areas where the fire has already come to the guard, crews will be working on mop-up operations,” said the Wildfire Service.

Crews will also be directly attacking the fire on the southwest side, where it is safe to do so.

The lightning-caused fire currently has 39 firefighters, 25 pieces of heavy equipment and 13 helicopters on the scene, attacking the blaze.

An area restriction is in place around this fire, and six properties south of Mount Baker are still under an evacuation alert.

More: Area restrictions implemented around Connell Ridge wildfire (Aug 4, 2022)

More: Evacuation alert issued due to Connell Ridge fire (Aug 2, 2022)

Cummings Creek

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

Crews have been able to build access routes, and containment lines are still being constructed on the north and east sides of the fire.

“The fire has backed down 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,” said Wildfire Service officials.

Firefighters will also be looking for opportunities to attack the fire directly, where it is safe to do so.

Meanwhile, most of the structural protection crews have left the area, as Wildfire Service officials said the threat to the community has diminished.

That said, 10 people will remain in Sparwood as a precaution.

An area restriction is in place around the fire.

More: Area restriction issued for Cummings Creek Wildfire (Aug 9, 2022)

Weasel Creek

The cross-border fire in the Flathead Valley is now nearly 1,000 hectares on the Canadian side of the border.

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.

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.

An area restriction is in place around the fire.

More: Weasel Creek area restriction amended (Aug 11, 2022)

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.
  • 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 and Being Held

  • 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.
  • 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 grew to nearly three hectares.
  • 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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