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Firefighters battle spot fires east of Kootenay River

Growth of St. Mary’s River wildfire causing spot fires in the Bummer’s Flats area
The St. Mary’s River wildfire. Photo courtesy BC Wildfire Service.

Firefighters have been responding to spot fires across the Kootenay River as the St. Mary’s River wildfire continues to burn and grow and is now mapped at 4,000 hectares as of Saturday afternoon.

Spot fires were observed on the Bummer’s Flats area east of the Kootenay River and were being prioritized by fire crews, which remained on site overnight along with heavy equipment to respond to any spotting.

Highway 93/95 running from Ft. Steele to Wasa remains open, however, check with DriveBC for the latest updates on any changes.

CPKC (formerly Canada Pacific Rail) has also activated a wildfire train to monitor potential fire growth and support suppression efforts.

Elsewhere on the St. Mary’s River wildfire, crews and heavy equipment worked overnight in the LD Ranch Rd., while control lines north of the airport have been holding.

No further growth was observed on the west flank north of the airport, or the north flank over to Francis Lake,a as fire has been holding on machine guards in those areas.

A number of evacuation orders and alerts remain in place.

In the ʔaq̓am Community, 52 dwellings are on evacuation order, while nine dwellings are on evacuation alert.

In the RDEK’s jurisdiction, 15 dwellings are on evacuation order in the Woods Corner east area, with over 100 dwellings on alert immediate west, east and north of the wildfire, as well as south on the opposite side of the St. Mary’s River and the east side of th Kootenay River.

As of Saturday morning, there are 232 personnel tasked to the fire, including BC Wildfire Service, contract crews, single rsources, and structure protection personnel. That includes a 20-person unit crew that arrived from the United States on Friday.

Structure protection resources are also working day and night shifts.

Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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