East Kootenay still ablaze

The province may be planning to end the state of emergency, but the East Kootenay remains a tinder box.

Residents of Elkford and the surrounding district met Wednesday night to find out about an evacuation alert that covers much of Elk Valley.

The alert was ordered in response to the Quinn Creek wildfire, a remote fire burning west of the Elk River. It’s considered out of control, and currently 7,513 hectares in size, but does not pose an immediate threat to any communities or structures. The BC Wildfire Service has about 20 personnel and heavy equipment working on the blaze, with air support.

The Elkford alert is just one of several evacuation alerts and orders in the Cranbrook zone of the Southeast Fire Centre, where hot, dry conditions have made the forest tinder dry.

The Lamb Creek fire near Moyie, southwest of Cranbrook, has grown to 1,980 hectares. BCWS has 169 crew on the fire, with more than 20 pieces of heavy equipment, and air support.

The Kenow Mountain fire in the extreme southeast corner of the province is about 4,400 hectares in size.

The Linklater Creek fire on the US-Canada border is 927 hectares in size, and burning 18 kilometres from Newgate on Lake Koocanusa.

The White River fires, a complex of fires about 50 km west of Canal Flats, is the largest in the region and more than 25,600 hectares in size.

Several spot fires also burn in the region. The most serious is the Barbour Creek fire, near Panorama Mountain Resort. It was called under control Wednesday.

Three small grass fires along Highway 3 near Fernie on Wednesday were quickly extinguished by local fire crews.

There has been some good news for firefighting crews. Evacuation alerts were rescinded for the St. Mary’s Reserve area and Mission-Fort Steele area near Cranbrook on Tuesday, as that fire was declared 100 per cent contained. Wildfire crews continue to mop up that blaze.

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