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Sparwood crews expand control line network, fight fire with fire

Crews extend control lines west past Cummings Creek, and south from Lladnar Creek to Elk River
A helicopter flies above Sparwood, on its way to dump water on the fire (photo courtesy of Saskia Bariesheff)

Rain has once again swept into Sparwood, bringing with it slightly cooler temperatures and an increase in humidity, which is beneficial to the steadily burning fire.

The fire currently covers 945 hectares of land in the hills above Sparwood, a marked increase since Saturday’s estimate of 751. B.C Wildfire Service noted, however, that some of this fire growth was expected due to planed hand ignitions.

Earlier this week, crews began lighting small hand ignitions on the eastern slope to direct the fire upwards and away from the community. Hand ingitions are small fires that help control the spread and direction of the main fire. Control lines that were put in place to contain the fire and bolster the hand ignitions held overnight on Sunday and crews continue to monitor them around the clock into the week. Control lines are dirt paths that have been cleared of all natural materials like sticks, leaves, trees and branches, that make it difficult for the fire to spread.

READ MORE: District of Sparwood expands fire evacuation alert

A control line, extending north past Cumming Creek, is now complete and crews have positioned themselves in that area to fight the fire. Another line is also being established west of Cummings Creek. Crews began scouting in this area earlier in the week to determine where hand ignitions could be lit.

A fuel-free zone is being established in the south, that would connect the Lladnar Creek control line to the Elk River. Ground crews are being supported by helicopters in this area.

On Monday, B.C Wildfire Service classified the fire as rank one on a six point scale, which indicates a smouldering ground fire with a lot of smoke, but little to no open flame.

According to the B.C. Wildfire Service website, on Monday there were 39 wildfire crew members, 48 structure protection crew members and six helicopters responding to the fire.


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About the Author: Gillian Francis

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