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Posted: August 2, 2018

Lightning keeping BCWS on its toes

The northern part of the East Kootenay remains a hot spot for lightning-caused fires.

Four new blazes were sparked by lightning overnight in the East Kootenay – including a one hectare fire in the high country off the Cross River drainage, about three km outside Kootenay National Park’s southeastern boundary.

There are two .01 ha fires, one along the Spillimacheen River, about 11 km west of Parson and another near the 12 Mile Mainline, not far from the Columbia River Wetlands, about five km north of Carbonate.

Another new wildfire is located near the southwest side of Yahk Mountain, about 21 km east of Yahk. The fire is about .3 ha in size.

The Whitetail fire outside of Kootenay National Park, about 17 km east of Spillimacheen and approximately 40 kilometres north of Radium Hot Springs is now 290 ha (estimated). Discovered July 27, the fire remains active, but BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) reports it is now 35% guarded.

“This fire is classified as out of control. This wildfire does not pose a threat to the Radium Hot Springs or other local communities at this time,” BCWS said.

This fire does not currently pose a risk to visitors of Kootenay National Park; however, as a precautionary measure, area closures and smoke advisories have been put into place by Parks Canada.

The Beaverfoot Forest Service Road is closed beyond the 47-kilometre mark (near the Symond Creek Bridge). No vehicles are permitted on this section of road. This road will remain closed until the public is otherwise notified.

About 70 ground crew members, seven helicopters and eight pieces of heavy equipment are on site today along with aviation support. Crews are working to continue to build guard to limit growth. Hand ignition operations will take place to reinforce the guard where appropriate, BCWS reported.

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The fire at Vermilion Crossing, forcing an evacuation order for Kootenay Park Lodge, is now noted as being 2.1 ha in size.

Fresh information on the wildfires at the Kootenay National Park and Banff National Park boundaries, forcing the continued closure of Highway 93 south to Radium Hot Springs, is lacking at this time. An update will be filed when information is available.

The Findlay Creek fire west of Canal Flats, which was discovered July 30, is still listed by BCWS as being 15.5 ha. No other information is available.

Discovered July 20, the Hog Ranch fire, just northeast of Parson, remains active at 43.6 ha in size. No other information is available.

Discovered July 31, the person-caused Thunder Creek fire (.01 ha in size) remains active about 10 miles east of Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park.

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