A helicopter drops water on the St. Mary’s River fire Saturday afternoon. Trevor Crawley photo.

A helicopter drops water on the St. Mary’s River fire Saturday afternoon. Trevor Crawley photo.

St. Mary’s River wildfire control lines hold overnight Saturday

All control lines for the St. Mary’s River wildfire held overnight Saturday as the northeast corner continues to cause challenges with spot fires that were suppressed by fire crews and aviation resources.

The spot fire that started on the east side of the Kootenay River on Bummers Flats has been actioned and not expected to grow, according to a BC Wildfire Service update Sunday morning.

The wildfire, which has been burning for nearly a week, is mapped at 4,093 hectares.

Danger tree fallers are on site and working since the fire began a week ago, while additional fallers arrived Sunday to assist with keeping access and egress routes open.

Heavy equipment, BC Wildfire Service crews, contractors and structure protection units are working day and night shifts to ensure an ongoing presence on the fire’s perimeter and suppressing hot spots and conducting mop up.

Fire officials are also assessing and establishing options for further contingency lines that can be developed, as heavy equipment has been a critical resource for suppressing spot fires and maintaining control lines.

As of Sunday morning, there are 232 personnel tasked to the wildfire, which includes BC Wildfire Service personnel, contract crews, single resources and structure protection units.

Eight helicopters have been assigned and 16 pieces of heavy equipment are working on containment lines.

An area restriction is also in place covering access points on the the western and northern flanks of the fire.

An evacuation alert for over 500 homes in the Ta Ta Creek and Greater Wasa area on Saturday evening, while a number of evacuation orders and alerts elsewhere 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 hundreds of 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 the Kootenay River.

That includes the Canadian Rockies International Airport and nearby city-owned lands. Ayone flying into or out of the Cranbrook airport should check in with their carrier for updates on flight information.