Remote wildfire burns south of Cranbrook

Crews are tackling a lightning-caused wildfire near the U.S. border near Cherry Lake.

A wildfire has grown exponentially near Cherry Lake south of Cranbrook, having grown to over 200 hectares since it’s discovery on Tuesday.

The blaze—roughly 20 kilometres north of the U.S. border—is a lightning-caused event that was originally mapped at 25 hectares as of Tuesday afternoon.

High winds and steep slopes were contributors to the growth of the fire, according to Jordan Turner, a fire information officer with the Southeast Fire Centre.

“This is an incident were high winds combined with slopes allowed the fire to grow quite quickly,” said Turner. “So it’s a lot to do with the area that it’s in, but we are expecting more high winds so it’s not to say it won’t grow more.”

“…Right now there is a B.C. Wildfire crew and contract crews working the fire. There’s also bulldozers putting in guards around it. They worked late last [Tuesday] night and have been working early this morning to get that done.”

There are some helicopters and air tankers working the fire on Wednesday after being grounded due to the smoke on Tuesday.

“It makes it more dangerous. Right now, we were able to, but yesterday we were completely grounded for a lot of our fires because of that—helicopter bucketing and air tanker support—so the smoke has been not helping suppression efforts,” Turner said.

However, if there’s anything good that can come out of the smokey haze is the fact that it lowers regional temperatures, which is a small help towards fire suppression, he added.

The current fire danger rating in the Cranbrook area is moderate to high.

Elsewhere in the area—crews have responded to two small spot fires out towards Yahk that were discovered on Tuesday as well. Both were lightning-caused and are less than a hectare in size.