UPDATED: Evacuation alert issued for six properties as crews respond to wildfire south of Cranbrook

BC Wildfire Service resources are currently responding to a wildfire at Connell Ridge approximately 15 kilometres south of Cranbrook. Photo courtesy BC Wildfire Service.

BC Wildfire Service resources are currently responding to a wildfire at Connell Ridge approximately 15 kilometres south of Cranbrook. Photo courtesy BC Wildfire Service.

An evacuation alert has been issued for six properties near Mount Baker south of Cranbrook, as fire crews respond to the Connell Ridge wildfire Tuesday afternoon.

“Evacuation Alerts are intended to give people time to prepare themselves so that they are ready to leave immediately if an Evacuation Order is issued,” said Loree Duczek, Information Officer with the East Kootenay Regional Emergency Operation Centre. “Residents within the Alert area with livestock or large animals are encouraged to take steps now to find a place to relocate their animals.”

Other steps affected property owners can take include moving RV trailers and boats to a different area and gathering important documents, medications, pets, supplies and other important items in case the alert is upgraded to an evacuation order.

Discovered on Monday, (Aug. 1), ground and air assets with the BC Wildfire Service are responding to the wildfire, estimated 150-hectare wildfire 15 kilometres south of Cranbrook.

One unit crew (20 firefighters) is on site, with another unit crew scheduled to arrive later Tuesday afternoon, while an initial attack crew (three firefighters) and response officers are also involved in the response.

The fire is burning as a moderate to highly vigorous surface fire with a moderate to fast rate of speed, according to the Southeast Fire Centre.

Aircraft such as helicopters, air tankers and skimmers are also supporting the effort with water and fire retardant. As aircraft are utilizing nearby bodies of water to replenish tanks to support operations, the BC Wildfire Service is reminding recreational boaters or other watercraft users to steer clear of any aircraft.

Approximately 40 kilometres northwest of Kimberley, an estimated 40-hectare wildfire in the Stair Lakes area is under a modified response, meaning firefighting personnel are managing it in a way that minimizes costs and damage, while maximizing ecological benefits of a fire-maintained ecosystem.

The fire danger rating across much of the Southeast Fire Centre is high to extreme, as the peak of the heat wave over the weekend begins to taper off.

In response to conditions, the pending weather forecast and existing fuel loads, the Southeast Fire Centre also issued a campfire ban effective, Thursday, Aug. 4.