An evacuation alert has been issued for 254 properties on the west side of Lake Koocanusa due to a 368-hectare wildfire burning in the Plumbob Mountain area.
The evacuation alert covers an area stretching from the Bailey Bridge south to the US border, according to the Regional District of East Kootenay.
“We are urging residents and campers within the Alert area to prepare and gather personal supplies should conditions worsen and an evacuation order be issued,” says Information Officer Loree Duczek. “If you have not yet registered for the Evacuation Notification System, we urge you to do so. It will take RCMP and Search and Rescue several hours to deliver notifications throughout an Alert area of this size. By contrast those who are registered for the Notification System will know immediately, when every second counts.”
An evacuation order was also issued for four properties near the fire itself late Sunday. A reception centre has been established at the Heritage Inn in Cranbrook, and displaced residents are encouraged to register for Emergency Services Support resources.
Meanwhile, for remaining properties under an evacuation alert, Duczek says residents should take proactive measures now.
“If you have RVs, boats or other recreational vehicles you wish to move, or if you have livestock or animals that need to be moved, this is the time to move them,” stresses Duczek. “If an Evacuation Order needs to be issued, RVs, boats and large livestock will not be able to be moved at that time.
Anyone within the Alert area staying at a vacation property, second home or campground will not be eligible for ESS and will be asked to return to their primary residence if the alert escalates to an evacuation order.
“Anyone at a vacation property or campground may wish to return to their primary residence at the Alert stage as evacuations can happen at any time during the day or night,” explains Duczek. “This is an incredibly popular recreational area and we are urging everyone – including campers – to register for the Evacuation Notification System so they will be aware if conditions change and an Order needs to be issued.”
The RDEK urges registering for the Evacuation Notification System or signing up for RDEK email updates.
The fire, which is now estimated at 360 hectares in size, began as a ground fire and quickly spread to the crown fuels due to winds and gusts up to 50 km/hr today.
Latest updates on fire activity can be found on the BC Wildfire Service website.