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Lightning sparks 46 new wildfires in Southeast Fire Centre

While fire crews battle the human-caused blaze near Rock Creek, crews attack dozens of new lightning-caused fires in southern BC.

While fire crews are battling the 2,500 hectare blaze near Rock Creek, there are a total of 46 new wildfires burning in the Southeast Fire Centre since Thursday.  Fire information officer Fanny Bernard said eight of these forest fires are in the Kootenay Lake zone and gave a summary of some of the resources BC Wildfire branch has deployed.

The Mount Midgley fire near Creston has grown from 30 to 600 hectares since it was discovered Friday. There is a twenty person unit crew and air tankers working on the fire. Bernard said there is no immediate threat to any structures at this time even though the fire can be seen from homes in the area.

Closer to Nelson, a rappel crew has been assigned to a 1.1 hectare fire near Six Mile Lake, but poor visibility is hampering the crew from getting to the fire.

A fire near the Salmo Creston Pass has two four-person initial attack crews, 15 contract workers, a helicopter and a fire officer on site.

And after last night’s lightning storm, the BC Wildfire Branch is expecting the number of fires to rise today.

“We’re still counting on people from the public to call in any new forest fires,” said Bernard, adding the poor visibility will make it difficult to spot the new fires.

The Kootenay Lake zone fires range in size from spot fires to 600 hectares. BC Wildfire states that they are all caused by lightning.

New fires in Kootenay Lake Zone:

•    Houser Ridge-.01hectare north of Meadow Creek

•    Crusader Creek -.04 hectare spot fire  west of Kokanee Glacier Park

•    Six Mile Lake- 1.1 hectare-Rappel crew assigned-awaiting better visibility

•    Cultis Lake- .04 hectare- East of Ymir, west of Kootenay Mountain-Rappel crew

•    Next Creek-6.5 hectares-East of Ymir, west of Kootenay Mountain

•    Kianuko Creek- 12 hectares

•    Mount Dickson- 50 hectares

•    Blazed Creek -Salmo-Creston Pass- Two initial attack crews, 15 contract workers, helicopter and a fire officer

•    Mount Midgely-600 hectares-One unit crew and air tankers

Bernard confirmed that the smoke in the West Kootenay is due to the 8,000 hectare Stickpin fire burning in Colville National Forest, Washington. The fire is less than 10 km south of the Canadian border.

The Ministry of Environment and Interior Health have issued a Smoky Skies Advisory for the Boundary and Kootenay regions and southern areas of the Okanagan, spanning the communities of: Castlegar, Creston, Grand Forks, Rock Creek, Oliver, and Osoyoos.

The advisory recommends that the public should avoid strenuous outdoor activities.

As of Aug. 14, there have been 449 fires in the Southeast Fires Centre with 6,271 hectares burned according to the BC Wildfire Service website. Provincially there have been 1,570 fires with 288,637 hectares burned.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit bcwildfire.ca.

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

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