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Posted: August 3, 2022

Connell Ridge wildfire balloons to 500 ha

Despite being pounded by airtankers, skimmers and helicopters, the Connell Ridge wildfire has more than doubled in size since yesterday.

BC Wildfire Service this afternoon (August 3) reports the fire, about 15 km south of Cranbrook, is now 500 hectares, up from 150 ha August 2. Ignited August 1 by lightning, the fire is listed as out-of-control.

“This fire is burning at high elevation at this time with rank two behaviour observed, meaning it is a low vigor surface fire with a slow rate of spread; however, this fire behaviour is expected to increase throughout the day as an incoming cold front is forecast to increase winds to greater than 25 km/hour today and this evening. With increased fire behaviour, this fire is expected to grow in size later today and through the evening,” BC Wildfire Service outlined.

Connell Ridge wildfire on August 2. BC Wildfire Service photo

“Today, ground crews are working on establishing control lines, which look like wide paths where all fuel is removed from the ground. Control lines can be built with crews by hand or with heavy equipment like bulldozers and excavators. They vary in size depending on the size of the fire. Crews will also be busy continuing to set up water delivery systems and preparing for the incoming cold front.

“Aerial resources will continue to work on this incident throughout the day to meet tactical objectives as required. Airtankers remain available to respond to this incident in the day if they are needed to meet those objectives.

“Heavy equipment strike teams are being dispatched to this incident to help ground crews establish control lines. Equipment strike teams often consist of six pieces of equipment,” BC Wildfire Service explained.

Forty-eight firefighters and three helicopters are battling the fire.

An incident management team will be taking over this incident as early as August 4.

An Evacuation Alert has been issued by the Regional District of East Kootenay for six properties in the vicinity of this fire.

Two other fires in the East Kootenay remain out of control.

Ignited by lightning on July 30, the Mount Docking fire about 28 km east of Radium Hot Springs is now three ha.

And the Stair Lakes fire, about 30 km northwest of Kimberley in St. Mary’s Alpine Provincial Park, ignited by lightning July 31, is out-of-control at 40 ha.

Two other fires south of Cranbrook are listed as under control.

The Ranger Lake fire, lightning-caused on July 28, is under control at .6 ha and the Teepee Creek fire, just nine km southeast of the Connell Ridge fire, is under control at .5 ha.

BC Wildfire Service is also battling a 20 ha fire in Six Mile Creek, about three km north of Kitchener.

The human-caused fire began last night.

Lead image: An airtanker flies over Cranbrook on its way to the Connell Ridge fire August 2. e-KNOW photo


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