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Posted: July 26, 2023

Control lines continue to hold on St. Mary’s fire

BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) this afternoon reported continued progress on the St. Mary’s River Wildfire.

Fire activity remains observed as a smouldering ground fire (rank 1).( Learn more about wildfire rank.) All control lines continue to hold, BCWS said.

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.

“In the days to come, the BC Wildfire Service will be working with local governments on the process of reviewing and lifting evacuation alerts and orders as soon as it is safe and practical to do so,” BCWS stated.

“On Wednesday, firefighters are working to secure guard along the fire’s eastern edge using small-scale hand ignitions. Elsewhere on the fire, crews continue to patrol and extinguish hotspots where they occur.

“Crews have noted some creeping ground fire in the area of the Airport Pasture prescribed burn to the southwest corner of the fire and to the southeast in the area of a 2017 wildfire. While this low-intensity fire is not currently threatening structures, crews will be taking the opportunity to do some small-scale hand ignitions on any pockets of fuel in the area.”

More information on these operations can be found in an operational update with Incident Commander Daniel Klein and RDEK’s Loree Duczek, recorded July 25 at 11:45 a.m. MST. View the video update here.

“Small-planned ignitions are planned for Wednesday afternoon if conditions are favourable. These operations, which will be conducted by hand, remove unburnt fuel between the fire edge and guards in an intentional manner to reduce the chance of the fire spreading beyond control lines. Hand ignitions will be ongoing in the coming days when conditions allow. Intermittent increased smoke will be visible to the surrounding communities during these operations.

“There are three aircraft assigned to this incident. Rotary wing (helicopter) resources will be continuing to support the fire throughout the day as visibility and daylight allows. Ground crews and aviation are working in tandem to detect and suppress hotspots as they are discovered during the day.”

The fire is holding at 4,093 ha.

Evacuation Orders and Alerts

Evacuation ALERTS and ORDERS for The ʔaq’am community have been updated as follows.

The Regional District of East Kootenay has an evacuation ALERT in effect as follows.

The City of Cranbrook has implemented an evacuation ALERT for the Canadian Rockies International Airport.

e-KNOW file photo


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