A water skimming aircraft is pictured operating out near Moyie Lake on Tuesday.

Island Pond fire 75 per cent contained

Small fires caused by lightning spark up in the region.

A spate of new fires in the region are being blamed on a lightning storm that rolled through early in the week, however, the BC Wildfire Service is responding to all and making progress on large existing fire events.

A cluster of four fires was reported out near Moyie on Monday evening.

The largest, a five-hectare blaze in the Lamb Creek area, is currently five hectares in size, with five personnel, four pieces of heavy equipment and one helicopter working on it, according to Fire Information Officer Karlie Shaughnessy.

On the east side of Moyie Lake on Moyie Mountain, a small four-hectare fire was sparked by lightning that is currently being actioned by eight personnel and three pieces of heavy equipment that are establishing guard.

A small spot fire on Fenwick Rd, out near Horseshoe Lake is out, added Shaughnessy.

“Altogether we have 11 active fires burning in the Cranbrook fire zone and six active fires burning in the Invermere fire zone,” she said.

Over to the east, a small fire in the Lizard Creek area near Fernie is burning at 0.3 hectares with a helicopter and a rapattack crew.

BC Wildfire Service personnel continue to attack the larger blazes up the Columbia Valley; the Island Pond fire south of Canal Flats is 75 per cent contained, Shaughnessy said.

“It is currently 1073 hectares in size today and 82 personnel are on site with one helicopter and eight pieces of heavy equipment,” she said. “Crews have been making very good progress establishing guards. The evacuation alert is still on, so if anyone has any questions about that they can contact the RDEK.

“…They really secured the south flank and then the east and northeast flank really quickly, so any growth that did occur was moving in a northward direction away from the two communities there of Island Pond and Premier Lake.”

To the northeast of Whiteswan Lake, the White River fire has reached 1,550 hectares but is burning in a remote location and is not threatening any structures or communities.

“Crews are just waiting for some ideal conditions to conduct some burn up operations to help contain this fire,” Shaughnessy said.

While rain is in the forecast over the next few days, there is also a chance of more lightning.

“The danger rating is still high to extreme,” Shaughnessy said, “and it looks like we’re going to continue with hot and dry conditions throughout the rest of this week with a chance of thunderstorms in the East Kootenay region but we’ll see if that materializes.”