Winds fan Connell Ridge fire to about 850 ha
Now one of six wildfires of note in British Columbia, the Connell Ridge wildfire south of Cranbrook has grown to about 850 hectares, BC Wildfire Service reports today (August 4).
Discovered August 1, the lightning-caused fire is about 15 km south of Cranbrook.
“As forecast, yesterday’s consistently high south, southwest winds did increase the size of this fire. While significant growth is expected to have happened in the last 24 hours, it is difficult to estimate because of the low hanging smoke, the current estimate is 850 ha, though that may change later in the day when more accurate perimeter mapping can happen,” BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) stated.
“This fire is continuing to burn at high elevation at this time, with mainly rank two behaviour observed, which is a low vigour surface fire with a slow rate of spread. Rank three was observed at the head of the fire, which is a moderately vigorous surface fire with occasional candling and a moderate rate of spread.”
There are 54 firefighters and a helicopter battling the fire today.
“Primary objectives for personnel is setting up structure protection on cabins in the vicinity of the fire and helping to establish staging areas,” BCWS outlined.
“Crews on the ground will be supported by heavy equipment that is being moved into the staging area today and will be establishing machine guard in strategic areas. Heavy equipment makes guard construction and fuel removal move faster and can operate in the evening hours when fire behaviour tends to be calmer.
“Helicopters will be bucketing on the south and west flanks to continue cooling the fire and reducing activity along the edge. Fixed wing aviation resources will be available to support as needed.”
Officers will fly the fire today to establish situational awareness for the IMT and continue to plan.
An Evacuation Alert has been issued by the Regional District of East Kootenay for six properties in the vicinity of this fire.
Lead image: Smoke billows from the Connell Ridge wildfire the evening of August 2. BC Wildfire Service photo