The wildfire situation is becoming fraught in the Kimberley area.
Three hours after an evacuation order was issued for the St. Mary Valley, an evacuation alert was issued for the entire nearby community of Kimberley.
“The City of Kimberley has issued an evacuation ALERT for all properties within the municipal boundaries effective 11:00PM (MST),” read the alert from the city.
“With an evacuation order issued earlier tonight for rural residents in the St. Mary Valley, the BC Wildfire Service has recommended implementing an alert for the City of Kimberley to give residents the opportunity to prepare now should conditions worsen and we be asked to leave on a moment’s notice,” said emergency operations centre director Terry Balan.
“We need to stress that at this time, this is only an alert.”
The evacuation ALERT area includes:
• The entire city of Kimberley municipal boundary, and properties in the Regional District of East Kootenay directly south and southeast of the city of Kimberley municipal boundary.
The Meachen Creek fire was burning at 5,685 hectares as of Friday morning, southwest of St. Mary Valley. Originally estimated to be 10,000 hectares, a perimeter scan earlier this week gave ground crews a better idea of the size.
BC Wildfire Service said active winds gusting up to 40 kilometres per hour increased fire activity Thursday evening, pushing the flames north. It has not yet merged with the Mount Dickson wildfire.
About 14 kilometres north of Kimberley, the Lost Dog Complex fire is an estimated 706 hectares, near Ta Ta Creek.
If people have personal items, recreational vehicles, boats or other items they want to move, the alert stage is the time to move them. If an order is issued, it means you must leave the area immediately.
The RDEK has posted on its website a basic checklist of things to consider having ready as part of your personal preparedness.
An information line is also set up at 250-426-2188 or toll free 1-855-346-2188.
For the latest status of wildfires, visit http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status