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Posted: July 26, 2023

IMT taking control of three valley fires

The Bruce Mountain Wildfire on July 26 as seen from Invermere. Erika Sigl photo

An Incident Management Team (IMT) is en route to the Invermere Fire Zone to assume control of the Bruce Mountain (Horsethief Creek), Yearling Creek and Mia Creek wildfires.

The Bruce Mountain (Horsethief) Wildfire, 10 km west of Invermere, is today 966 hectares, BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) reported.

“Fire activity increased late Tuesday afternoon with winds of 50 to 60 km/h. Fire growth occurred in a northwest direction away from communities, infrastructure and properties. By Wednesday morning, fire activity had decreased. Wednesday is forecast to be sunny, warm and dry with variable, but generally light, winds. On Thursday, there is potential for thunderstorms bringing dry lighting and gusting winds,” BCWS stated.

Ground crews, aviation resources and heavy equipment are working on control lines to contain the fire. Aircraft include three heavy-lift helicopters and two “scoopers,” purpose-built aerial firefighting aircraft capable of holding up to 1,200 gallons of water.

Heavy equipment crews are making progress on machine guard on the east flank. BC Hydro is on site working to protect its infrastructure.

Structure protection personnel, working with local fire departments, are on site to conduct assessments and set up and install equipment as required in areas of potential concern.
This fire will continue to be highly visible to the surrounding area.

Evacuation Orders and Alerts

The Regional District of East Kootenay has issued an evacuation ORDER and ALERT as follows.

Yearling Creek Wildfire

The out-of-control lightning-caused Yearling Creek Wildfire is now an estimated 1,150 ha and has forced an Evacuation Order and Evacuation Alert.

“The Yearling Creek wildfire is receiving a modified response. This means personnel are using a combination of suppression techniques, including direct and indirect attack as well as monitoring to steer, contain and otherwise manage fire activity to minimize damage while maximizing the benefits of fire on natural ecosystems,” BCWS reported today.

“Personnel and heavy equipment are putting in guard lines and tying into the Yearling Creek drainage to prevent the fire from coming into closer proximity to properties and other values. Structure protection specialists are on site Wednesday to assess and, if required, install structure protection equipment. Danger tree specialists are assessing and falling danger trees as required.

“Crews will be looking for opportunities to conduct small-scale hand ignitions to remove unburnt fuel between the fire edge and control lines in an intentional manner to reduce the chance of the fire spreading. These small-planned ignitions may begin Wednesday if conditions are favourable. Hand ignitions will be ongoing in the coming days when conditions allow. Learn more about planned ignitions here.

The fire 25 km east of Radium Hot was discovered Sunday, July 9. On July 23 the fire was 75 ha.

The lightning-caused Mia Creek Wildfire, about 18 km from Canal Flats, remains out-of-control at an estimated 400 ha. However, BCWS has not updated information on the fire yet today.

Discovered Monday, July 24, the fire is receiving a full response from BCWS.

The BC Wildfire Service uses a full response when there is threat to public safety and/or property and other values, such as infrastructure or timber. Immediate action is taken. During a full response, a wildfire is suppressed and controlled until it is deemed “out.”

Learn more about Incident Management Teams here.

Lead image: A look at the Bruce Mountain Wildfire. BCWS photo


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