Crews battle four new wildfire starts

Lightning strikes keep wildfire crews busy

Helicopters were bucketing three fires near Moyie Lake on Monday evening, as lightning is being blamed for four fires within the region.

Helicopters were bucketing three fires near Moyie Lake on Monday evening, as lightning is being blamed for four fires within the region.

Firefighting crews responded to four new starts in the region on Monday evening, according to the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK).

The largest is about five hectares and is burning in the Lamb Creek area. Air tankers, helicopter support and crews immediately attended the area after it was called in.

Another fire was called in up on the eastern hillside in the Barkshanty Forest Service Road area and one near Sunrise Creek. Both are less than a hectare in size and were actioned by ground crews and helicopter support.

A fourth fire was reported out near Grasmere, which is also being dealt with by BC Wildfire Service with support from the Baynes Lake Fire Department. It is estimated at only two hectares.

Posted by Colton Teichrib on Monday, August 7, 2017

No structures or communities are threatened as of Tuesday morning.

Crews continued to battle a large blaze south of Canal Flats over the weekend.

Ground contact was made in the Wolf Creek area when a small thunderstorm rolled through on Saturday, sparking a small fire that was quickly contained by an initial attack crew from Invermere.

The Island Pond fire near Canal Flats continues to burn, as officials estimate it is 35 per cent contained as of Monday afternoon. An evacuation alert for 51 properties between Island Pond and the north end of Premier Lake, including Premier Lake provincial campground, remains in effect

Crews are working on establishing guards on the blaze, which has held at 1,151 hectares, and are conducting controlled burns to reduce fuel loads on the eastern flank.

As of press time, there are 67 personnel working on it, with three helicopters and multiple pieces of heavy equipment, as well as air tankers as smoke and weather conditions allow.

The White River Fire up the Middle Fork past Whiteswan is still estimated at 1,226 hectares. Fire crews completed a controlled burn Sunday on the west side of the fire and are now looking at doing a controlled burn Tuesday or Wednesday if conditions permit.

The Middle Fork Forest Service Road remains closed at the 45.5km mark.

The Verdant Creek wildfire in Kootenay National Park is now estimated at 13,000 hectares and continues to generate heavy smoke and effect Highway 93S between Radium and Castle Junction.

Though the highway is currently open, drivers should anticipate reduced speed, possible delays and watch for traffic control personnel. The highway may close without notice to ensure traveller safety.

Smoke has moved in once again today from fires burning to our west in the Kamloops/Cariboo district (in addition to locally generated smoke). Many areas of the region are experiencing significant smoke today and the Air Quality Advisory remains in effect.