Wildfire Update: Evacuation ALERT for Elkford Area, Heavy Resources on Lamb Creek Fire

(Courtesy: BC Wildfire Service)

A new evacuation ALERT was issued Tuesday as a result of the ongoing wildfire situation, while fire crews continue to bombard the Lamb Creek Wildfire.

The District of Elkford and all rural properties north of Sparwood including Line Creek, Fording River, and Green Hills are under an evacuation ALERT due to the Quinn Creek Fire although the District of Sparwood is not included in the alert. The first has been active on its northern edge, pushing up in the Bull River drainage and now estimated at 6,576 hectares. Airtankers and helicopters have been laying retardant on the east side of the Bull River drainage in an attempt to prevent further spread. 22 personnel, two helicopters, and five pieces of heavy equipment were dedicated to the fire Tuesday while they attempt to build control lines on the fire's southern edge. As a precaution, School District 5 has also closed Rocky Mountain Elementary and Elkford Secondary because of the evacuation alert. All updates from SD5 will be from their website. Here's a video from the RDEK and BC Wildfire Service providing more details on the Quinn Creek Fire and Soowa Mountain Fire:

Fire crews managed to make progress on the Lamb Creek Wildfire even with the blaze at 1,978 hectares. With 110 personnel and 21 pieces of heavy equipment tending to the fire Tuesday, the BC Wildfire Service underwent planned, small-scale hand ignitions to bolster the fire guard on the southeast perimeter. Four helicopters and airtankers were also assisting crews on the ground Tuesday. Moyie North and Moyie South remain on evacuation ORDER as a result of the fire. Here's a video from the RDEK and BC Wildfire Service providing more details on the Lamb Creek Fire and the weather:

Continuing with the update, the Regional District of East Kootenay is reporting no major change at the Linklater Fire. Estimated at 8,340 hectares, the fire is burning about 927 hectares large on the Canadian side of the border. An evacuation ALERT for West Koocanus and Newgate remains in effect as 34 personnel, five pieces of heavy equipment and one helicopter continue to battle the fire by hitting hot spots and working on mop up.

Similar to the Lamb Creek Wildfire, an Incident Management Team (IMT) has also been dedicated to the White River Complex which burns an estimated 22,500 hectares. Establishing camp in the Canal Flats area, the IMT had 105 firefighters, six pieces of heavy equipment, and four helicopters actioning the fire Tuesday. An evacuation ORDER for the Whiteswan area remains in effect as structural protection units have been set up in the Whiteswan Lake area as a precaution. Crews are mostly focusing on the south end of the fire as heavy equipment carves a path for firefighters while helicopters continue to drop water on the fire's southernmost flank.

A fire of note, the BC Wildfire Service indicates that the Soowa Mountain Wildfire southeast of Elko is about 909 hectares in size. Visible from Elko and Highway 3, the RDEK said the wildfire is generating large amounts of smoke but the fire is not actively threatening any communities. Attack crews were dedicated to preventing any new spread due to active fire embers moving towards the northwest.

In the Flathead area, the BC Wildfire Service is also dedicating another Incident Management Team (IMT). The IMT take command over the wildfire response by the end of the week to battle active fires in region including the 1,751 hectare Lodgepole Fire. All fires in the immediate Flathead area do not pose a risk to communities.

Northwest of Kimberley, the White Creek Fire continues to burning at high elevations. Estimated at 322 hectares, the fire is remote and not threatening any communities.

26 firefighters and one piece of heavy equipment are also continuing mop up of the St. Mary's River Fire. An evacuation ALERT fro the Mission and Fort Steele area was lifted by the RDEK Tuesday morning and there are not more active alerts due to the St. Mary's River Fire.

While the BC Wildfire Service continues its work in the region, Parks Canada is also dealing with two fires of note.

First, the Kenow Fire is a top priority for Parks Canada with the townsite of Waterton, Waterton Lakes National Park having to be evacuated while section of the Municipal District of Pincher Creek, the Blood Reserve and rural Cardston have also been evacuated. Originally starting in B.C., the Kenow Fire has since moved into Alberta and flared up to threaten Waterton due to high winds and dry fuel. 1985 personnel, 14 aircraft and numerous fire engines were fighting the fire while Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and Parks Canada continue to respond. Full details on the Kenow Fire can be found here.

Secondly, Parks Canada continues to tackle the Verdant Creek fire actively burning in Kootenay National Park and Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park. Currently estimates peg the fire at 17,644 hectares with Parks Canada noting that significant rainfall will be needed for the fire to by fully extinguished. At this time, Highway 93 from Radium Hot Springs through to the Alberta border remains open but traffic may still be affected by fire suppression activities and smoke.

- Bradley Jones / with files from the Regional District of East Kootenay

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