UPDATED: Evacuation alert issued for Moyie/Monroe Lake area

UPDATED: Evacuation alert issued for Moyie/Monroe Lake area

The RDEK has issued an Evacuation Alert for 174 properties in the Moyie and Munroe Lake areas as the Lamb Creek wildfire continues to burn in the area.

According to the Southeast Fire Centre, the Lamb Creek blaze was caused by a suspected lightning strike and is mapped at 60 hectares. It is being actioned by 35 personnel, six pieces of heavy equipment, five helicopters and air tanker support.

The evacuation alert was issued Thursday morning, and includes the area north of the Moyie townsite to the Swansea bridge (including Porto Rico road) and the west side of Moyie Lake from Aurora Estates, including Green Bay, Mineral Lake and Monroe Lake.

“An evacuation alert informs residents of the threat of a potential or impending danger. It is intended to give people time to gather things and prepare themselves so that they are ready to go should the situation worsen and an Evacuation Order be issued,” said RDEK Information Officer Loree Duczek. “We encourage people within the evacuation alert area to put together important papers (like insurance papers), medications, valuables, supplies for children and pets, and other important items so that in the event things progress and they are asked to evacuate, they are ready to go.”

The alert does not include Moyie townsite, Eagles Nest, and Moyie Shores Estates.

In addition to the residential properties, the Moyie Lake Provincial Campground is included in the evacuation alert area, along with some private campgrounds including Hiawatha RV park, Moyie Vista Resort and Owl’s Nest.

The Southeast Fire Centre has also prohibited the use of watercraft on the lake as firefighting helicopters and aircraft continue to combat the blaze. The prohibition includes anything from boats and jet skis to kayaks, canoes and paddle boards.

However, the RDEK is also advising that anyone who has a boat or anything else moored at the lake is permitted to remove their watercraft. Anyone wishing to remove a moored boat should follow the shoreline to the nearest boat launch at slow speeds to mitigate any wake.

Also in effect is a road closure on the Lamb Creek Forest Service Road, starting at the 1.5-kilometre mark of the Mineral and Lamb Creek Forest Service Road to the Whitney and Irishman Creek Forest Service Road junction.

A small fire reported earlier this week west of New Lake near Booth Creek has been extinguished, while a wildfire on the Canada/US border near Newgate continues to burn. The fire jumped the border from Montana on Aug. 23 and is covering 30 hectares in Canada and over 600 in the US. The Canadian response includes 19 personnel on site, two piece of heavy equipment and two helicopters working to establish guards.

A lightning strike is the suspected cause of a small fire at the Fernie Alpine Resort as well; a few trails were temporarily restricted to public access while an initial attack crew and a helicopter dealt with the blaze. By midday Thursday, the fire was under control and closely monitored, according to an update posted by the resort online.

The Southeast Fire Centre is anticipating an increase in fire behaviour heading into the long weekend, given increased wind activity paired with hot and dry conditions in the region. Off-road vehicles (ORV) remain prohibited on backcountry roads in order to help prevent human-caused fires.

The ORV ban does not apply to private lands or national parks. It also does not apply to emergency responders or to agriculture or commercial/industrial users who operate vehicles for farming, emergency response or business purposes.

That exemption includes guide outfitters who use off-road vehicles for business purposes, as bow-hunting season is set to begin on Friday, Sept. 1 and rifle season on Sept. 10. Permitted ORV uses for guide outfitters include transporting supplies, setting up camps and general preparations for hunting operations, but guiding clients to hunt using ORVs or gaining access to the backcountry remains prohibited.