A thunderstorm on Tuesday led to a number of new wildfires burning across the region, with one person-caused fire in the Elk Valley.
The largest is burning in the ʔaq̓am community, west of the Kootenay River.
The fire is estimated to be about 3 hectares in size.
ʔaq̓am officials said the fire prompted an evacuation of 13 homes after it was discovered. Later in the evening, the order was lifted for seven homes, but remained for six others.
An additional 23 properties remain on an evacuation alert.
More: Wildfire prompts evacuation of some ʔaq̓am residents (Aug. 23, 2022)
Two wildfires sparked near the Canadian Rockies International Airport, one of which left flights grounded for about an hour.
One fire was put out, allowing flights to take off again, but the other fire continues to burn.
However, officials said the 0.01-hectare fire is outside of the zone that would impact air traffic.
More: Update: Flights resume at CRIA (Aug. 23, 2022)
Another fire was found near Horseshoe Lake, BC Wildfire Service officials said the fire is about half a hectare.
East of Invermere, a pair of fires have sparked near Elk Creek. One is estimated to be 2.1 hectares and the other is about 0.1 hectares.
South of Elkford, along Highway 43, a 0.01-hectare person caused has been spotted near Weigert Forest Service Road.
In the Creston Valley, a 0.01 and 0.5-hectare fire has been reported southeast of Creston in the Tally Creek area.
Connel Ridge fire
The fire, about 23 kilometres south of Cranbrook is being held at just over 1,700 hectares.
BC Wildfire Service officials said crews are working on mop-up operations where the fire has burned its way up to control lines.
“Crews will continue using the results from the infrared night scans to locate and extinguish hotspots. Several of the hotspots identified by the scans are larger clusters of heat and will take more time to extinguish,” said officials. “Helicopter support for bucketing and gear moves is available as needed.”
The Wildfire Service said plans for rehab in the area are already underway.
The area restriction around the fire is still active for now.
Mount Docking fire
The lightning-caused wildfire is still considered to be out of control and is estimated to be about 1,333 hectares in size.
That said, the BC Wildfire Service will remove the Mount Docking wildfire as a fire of note by the end of the day on Thursday.
Wildfire Service officials said it is currently a smouldering ground-level fire with a slow spread rate.
Cooler temperatures and humid conditions have helped firefighting efforts.
“The recent downturn in weather has bolstered weeks of hard work by firefighters, heavy equipment, and aerial resources. As a result of these efforts combined with the more favourable weather conditions over the last few days, fire activity has been reduced,” said officials.
Nearby residents will still see smoke in the air over the coming weeks as the fire continues to smoulder.
Weasel Creek fire
The Weasel Creek fire has grown to an estimated 1,177 hectares on the Canadian side of the border.
A new camp has been set up to reduce driving time for crews to work on the fire for longer periods of time.
The area restriction around the fire has been reduced but remains active for now.
“This Area Restriction reflects the fact that this remains an active worksite and with a camp in place up the Flathead Valley there will be an increase in traffic along the Forest Service Roads outside of the restricted area,” said BC Wildfire Service officials. “This includes large, slow-moving transport trucks providing services for this camp.”