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Posted: August 8, 2017

Lightning ignites more new wildfires

A spate of new lightning-caused wildfires have sprung up in less than 24 hours.

Including the four wildfires that started yesterday around Moyie Lake and a dramatic blaze near the Highway 93 Elk River Bridge, five new fires began overnight.

The Middle Fork of the White River fire. BCWS photo

Two of the fires are located near the growing White River fire, now at 1,550 ha.

One is a spot fire (.01 ha) in the North White River and another, at an estimated three ha, is in the upper reaches of Grave Creek, both northeast of Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park.

There are also two new fires near Elkford. One is on Fording Mountain (.01 ha) southeast of the district and the other is about five km north of town, west of the Elk Valley road and Elk River, about 300 metres up a slope. It is estimated at .9 ha.

There is another new fire at Hazel Creek, northwest of Yahk off Highway 3. It is estimated by the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) as .2 ha in size.

Two of the four fires near Moyie Lake continue to burn after an aggressive attack last night, following the responsible lightning strikes.

The Lamb Creek fire remains at five ha in size and firefighters, air tankers and heavy equipment have been having at it all day.

The fire on Moyie Mountain is now four hectares in sizes. Nine firefighters and air tankers are hitting this fire today, working to establish a fireguard.

BCWS says the fires are no threat to communities or structures at this time.

The smaller fires at Sunrise Creek and Barkshanty are contained or being extinguished, the Regional District of East Kootenay reported earlier this afternoon (August 8).
Fire crews are working to establish a fireguard on the Elk River fire near located off of Highway 93 near the Elk River Bridge. The fire is about two hectares in size.

The Island Pond fire is estimated at 35% contained, with 79 personnel, heavy equipment and helicopters fighting it today.

While crews continue to make progress, it is still an active fire and the Evacuation Alert remains in place for the Island Pond to Premier Lake area (including the Premier Lake Provincial Park campground).

The White River Fire (up the Middle Fork past Whiteswan) has 10 personnel, two pieces of heavy equipment and one helicopter working on it today. Work is focused on guarding.

The Verdant Creek fire from Highway 93. Al Skucas photo

And the Verdant Creek fire in Kootenay National Park and Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is now at an estimated at 13,000 plus ha.

Highway 93 through Kootenay National Park continues to be affected by wildfire, smoke and fire suppression activities and may be subject to temporary closures to ensure the safety of the public. Check www.DriveBC.ca and www.alberta511.ca for possible temporary closures, alternate routes and the most up-to-date information.

“There is a chance that isolated thunderstorms could develop again today (like they did yesterday) through the afternoon and evening. If they do form, they could bring dry lightning and limited precipitation,” the RDEK noted this afternoon.

The Air Quality Advisory also remains in place. It is expected to remain smoky across the East Kootenay for at least another few days.

Above photo: Air tankers in smoky skies battling Moyie fires Monday night. Photo by S. Wilson/RDEK

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