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Sparwood placed on evacuation alert as fire rages near Lladnar Creek

Residents living on Matevic Rd. and in Sparwood Heights are preparing to evacuate
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Sparwood Fire

An evacuation alert has been issued by the District of Sparwood for properties on Matevic Road and in Sparwood Heights due to a forest fire near Lladnar Creek.

Residents living on upper and lower Matevic Rd. and in Sparwood Heights are asked to prepare to leave their properties in the event that the alert changes to an evacuation order. The evacuation alert currently stops at Sparwood Heights Dr. and does not include Whiskey Jack Dr.

According to Sparwood mayor David Wilks, there are approximately 400 homes on evacuation alert. Forty volunteers are going door-to-door in the affected area to deliver news of the alert.

Residents should have a bag packed and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice with essential items like a government-based ID, medications, money, clothing, personal care items, financial documents, valuables and keepsakes. Each household should have a designated meeting point outside the evacuation area and everyone living at the residence should be registered through the provincial Evacuee Registration and Assistance Tool at ess.gov.bc.ca. Pets and livestock should be moved to a safe area.

According to B.C Wildfire Service, a fire was discovered on Friday, July 21 in the early evening at high-elevation on a ridge-top. The cause of the fire was environmental, likely from lightening.

Strong winds have pushed the fire downwards away from the ridge-top. B.C Wildfire Service lists the span of the wildfire as 150 hectares, an increase from Sunday’s estimate which stated it was 41 hectares.

B.C Wildfire Service stated that ground crews and heavy equipment resources will begin fighting the fire this evening. Crews were not able to work on the fire directly over the weekend due to steep and rocky terrain, and a lack of safe exit options.

Aircrafts are currently not being used to fight the fire. According to a July 24 update from B.C Wildfire Service, there is concern that water-dropping planes would wash burning debris down the steep slope and that helicopters would spread burning embers. Aviation may be used again in future if the fire spreads to a more moderate slope.

A team of response officers are using a camera to monitor the fire and an analysis is being developed that will include a suppression plan that can be put to action as soon as the fire reaches an area that crews can access.

Residents can expect to see more B.C Wildfire Service personelle and heavy equipment enter the community in the next 24 hours. Workers are easily identifiable by their red shirts.

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About the Author: Gillian Francis

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