UPDATE: Firefighters Prioritizing Efforts on Moyie Lake and Island Pond Wildfires

Credit: BC Wildfire Service

Crews have been able to make progress on six new fires that started Thursday night, as well as the Island Pond wildfire.

New Wildfires / Moyie Update

BC Wildfire Service reported half a dozen small fires that started overnight Thursday as a result of a thunderstorm.

This includes a second 0.3 hectare blaze by Mt. Fitzpatrick southwest of Baynes Lake, a 0.1 hectare fire in the Lizard Range west of Fernie, as well as three in the wilderness between Wasa, Sparwood, and Elkford that range from 0.01 to 0.5 hectares.

Fire Information Officer Carlee Kachman says another is burning just east of Moyie Lake by Barkshanty Creek. That one is estimated around 0.16 hectares.

For the Moyie area, crews are focusing most of their efforts on the Lamb Creek wildfire that started earlier this week, which has now grown to 20 hectares.

"There are four personnel on site with four pieces of heavy equipment. Helicopters, air tankers, and skimmers are also aiding in the fire suppression of this fire today. Crews are continuing to build guard on this fire and it is still 30% contained."

Kachman says there are no active risks to the public who look to recreate on the Moyie waters at this time, but BC Wildfire Service is asking anyone on the water to stay clear of fire fighting aircrafts.

Firefighters will look to conduct a burn operation today.

Columbia Valley Fires

The Island Pond wildfire burning between Canal Flats and Skookumchuk remains at 1,073 hectares

The 88 personnel who are currently on site were able to get this fire 75% contained earlier this week, and hope to see continued success going forward.

"There's been no growth recorded on this fire - it's still being held. We're just continuing with guards and tying it with the existing guard."

The Southeast Fire Centre reported significant growth in the Grave Creek wildfire, around 30 km east of Canal Flats.

It is now approximately 400 hectares large.

"Ash from this fire blew directly over to Sparwood last night, which is about 74 km away as the crow flies," says Kachman, "So that one was interesting to hear about last night."

Due to its remote location, however, crews are continuing to monitor it periodically, but are focusing most of their efforts in that region on the Island Pond fire.

Weather

The weather is expected to have a variety of potential outcomes for wildfires throughout the province this weekend.

In the East Kootenay, Environment Canada forecasts a 30% chance of showers Friday, a 70% possibility for Sunday, and 60% on Monday.

"A lot of rain at this point would be extremely helpful, but it is a forecast at this point, so we'll see what happens when the weekend arrives and continue changing and adapting our plans at that point."

Kachman gives the caveat that rain is not guaranteed on any of these days.

The troubling part, she says, is that all of these days with forecast rain are also expected to be accompanied with more lightning.

Of the 15 wildfires burning throughout the East Kootenay, 14 started as the result of lightning.

- David Opinko

Audio: Carlee Kachman, Fire Information Officer, BC Wildfire Service (on the new fire starts)

Audio: Carlee Kachman, Fire Information Officer, BC Wildfire Service (on public safety around Moyie Lake)

Audio: Carlee Kachman, Fire Information Officer, BC Wildfire Service (on this weekend's weather)

More from East Kootenay News