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Three large wildfires continue to burn in East Kootenay

Fire crews continue to respond to Connell Ridge, Weasel Creek, Cummings Creek wildfires
A large plume of smoke from the Connell Ridge wildfire could be seen from Cranbrook on Sunday, Aug. 14. Trevor Crawley photo.

While there was minimal fire behaviour at the Connell Ridge wildfire south of Cranbrook on Sunday, a large plume of smoke was highly visible in the afternoon due to high winds and small ignitions, according to the latest update from the BC Wildfire Service.

Ignitions on the south flank were conducted in order to bring the fire to containment lines, while crews also responded to a small slop over — a fire that crosses a control line — on the southwest flank.

The Connell Ridge wildfire is currently estimated at 1,700 hectares.

As of Monday (Aug. 15), there are 39 firefighters, 13 helicopters and 25 pieces of heavy equipment assigned to fire response.

The Regional District of East Kootenay has an evacuation alert in place for six properties south of Mount Baker, while the BC Wildfire Service has also issued an area restriction limiting public access to the area.

The Connell Ridge wildfire is one of three “Wildfires of Note” burning in the East Kootenay.

Northwest of Sparwood, the Cummings Creek fire continues to burn and has backed down into wetter areas, while fire activity in the north and easterly directions has slowed.

It is is currently estimated at 52 hectares.

Fire crews have been working on building access routes and containment lines on the north and east flanks, while also setting up a system of pumps and hose to deliver water.

There are currently 37 firefighters and 10 structural protection personnel assigned to fire response.

An area restriction limiting public access to the site is in place.

In the Flathead Valley, the Weasel Creek wildfire also continues to burn after crossing the Montana-B.C. border on Aug. 4.

The fire, on the Canadian side of the border, is estimated at 985 hectares.

There are 32 firefighters, and three pieces of heavy equipment assigned the fire, while the BC Wildfire Service is also collaborating with the U.S. fire management team.

An area restriction limiting public access is also in place around the fire.

An Incident Management Team, based in Elko, is coordinating resources and response for all three wildfires.

There are 36 active wildfires burning across the Southeast Fire Centre, with the Connell Ridge wildfire and Briggs Creek wildfire in the West Kootenay both estimated at approximately 1,700 hectares.

So far this fire season, there have been 173 reported fires in the Southeast Fire Centre that have burned approximately 4,920 hectares.

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Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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