BC Wildfire Service responded to a wildfire in the Moyie River region southwest of Cranbrook on Friday afternoon. Chad St. Pierre Photography photo.

BC Wildfire Service responded to a wildfire in the Moyie River region southwest of Cranbrook on Friday afternoon. Chad St. Pierre Photography photo.

Wildfire activity picks up in the Kootenays

Wildfire activity is picking up in the Southeast Fire Centre as the region saw approximately 40 fire starts and over 1,000 lightning strikes over the last 24 hours.

The fire danger rating throughout most of the region is moderate to high, as fuels are susceptible to ignition, and higher-elevation fuels are drying faster than seasonal norms, according to Kim Wright, a fire information officer.

“That has resulted in us seeing an increased risk of new fire starts because of the anticipated lighting coming up,” Wright said.

A provide-wide campfire ban remains in place, while prohibitions also include larger Category 2 and Category 3 open fires, as well as fireworks and sky lanterns.

In the East Kootenay, a number of fires have popped up over the last few days.

The Bootleg fire, which sparked a few kilometres west of Kimberley on Friday, is now under control after a response from the B.C. Wildfire Service that included air tankers, helicopters and ground crews.

The 20-hectare Moyie River fire west of Moyie Lake is now classified as being held, after air response from skimmers and ground crews over the weekend.

The Bootleg fire is suspected to be lightning-caused, while the Moyie River fire’s cause is unknown.

Currently, 37 personnel are on the ground, and with current suppression efforts underway — along with forecasted conditions — the fire isn’t expected to grow beyond its current boundaries.

North of Cranbrook and Kimberley, three fires are burning around Canal Flats and Invermere.

The Bear Creek fire approximately 17 kilometres east of Invermere, is burning at roughly 1.5 hectares in size. There has been a lot of helicopter bucketing over the last few days, while ground crews are making fuel-free zones and laying hose, according to Wright.

The Dry Creek North fire is currently being held at an estimated five hectares in size and burning 12 kilometres east of Fairmont. The fire has been completely machine guarded and ground crews are in the mop-up stage, checking for hot spots.

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