Additional evacuation orders and alerts were issued north of Cranbrook overnight Wednesday in response to increased fire growth and activity from the St. Mary’s River wildfire, which has grown to an estimated 2,601 hectares late Thursday.
The ʔaq̓am Community issued one evacuation order and one evacuation alert for properties on the the LD Ranch Rd. while the RDEK also issued an additional 15 evacuation orders and nine evacuation alerts for properties north of the reserve lands in the Woods Corner area.
NEW: 15 more properties north of the ʔaq̓am community were put on evacuation order overnight Wednesday in the Woods Corner East area.
An evac alert was also issued for 9 properties in the Woods Corner West area. pic.twitter.com/HVsPzv0p4J
— Trevor Crawley (@tcrawls) July 20, 2023
Residents evacuating out of ʔaq̓am are asked to register with emergency social services at 7500b Mission Rd., online at www.ess.gov.bc.ca, or at 250-489-9677.
Residents evacuated out of lands north of the reserve can register with an emergency reception centre that has been set up at yaqakiǂ ʔit̓qawxaxamki (The Gathering Place) at the College of the Rockies campus in Cranbrook.
In total, there are 52 dwellings under evacuation order and nine dwellings under evacuation alert in the ʔaq̓am Community, and 15 dwellings under evacuation order and 37 dwellings under evacuation alert in the RDEK’s jurisdiction.
The wildfire grew exponentially following increased fire activity Wednesday afternoon during peak burning hours, as much of the growth occurred on the northern flank.
Overnight Wednesday, crews conducted hand ignitions and heavy equipment pushed control lines to contain a pocket of fire that escaped to the west side of the Mission Rd.
Crews also completed hand ignitions Thursday morning at the north end of Wasa Mission Lower Rd. that were approximately 50 hectares in size. Firefighters will patrol and mop up Thursday evening to monitor the site.
Structure protection is being set up in Cherry Creek, working in day and night shifts. Structure protection crews are also firesmarting properties to remove any fuels and flammable material.
Nearly 100 firefighting personnel are on site, which includes resources from BC Wildfire Service, City of Cranbrook, City of Kimberley and contract crews. Air assets, such as air tankers and helicopters are also being utilized, along with heavy equipment on the ground.
We are starting to see structure protection resources arriving in the region. This trailer, along with fire trucks and staff from all over the province are here to support BCWS and the St Mary’s River Fire. @cranbrookfire is very grateful for the support! pic.twitter.com/VLVpNxiRJG
— cranbrookfire (@cranbrookfire) July 20, 2023