The Connell Ridge wildfire roughly 15 kilometres south of Cranbrook has blown up to an estimated 500 hectares, as firefighters, helicopters and ground equipment work to establish control lines.
The fire was designated as a Wildfire of Note by the BC Wildfire Service on Wednesday, and an incident management team will be taking over as early as Thursday, Aug. 4.
It is now the sixth Wildfire of Note in the province, as increased lightning activity sparked a number of fire starts over the last week.
“We have had a late fire season in British Columbia but I think everyone who’s watching at home understands that we have had five unprecedented years of wildfires,” said B.C. Premier John Horgan, during a media availability on Wednesday. “So getting a late start this year is good for, most importantly, for the land, but also for those that put their lives on the line each and every summer to go into wildfires to protect communities, to protect people, to protect, of course, the wildlife that is affected as well.”
The Connell Ridge wildfire is burning at high elevation and is observed as a low vigour surface fire with a slow rate of speed. However, a forecasted cold front is expected to bring increased winds on Wednesday evening that will stoke fire behaviour, which will increase it’s size.
There are currently 48 firefighters working to establish control lines, with heavy equipment strike teams — typically six pieces of heavy machinery such as excavators and bulldozers— en route to the area. Three helicopters are also at work, while air tankers are available to respond as needed.
An evacuation alert remains in place for six properties south of Mount Baker in the Gold Creek drainage.
The fire, suspected to be lightning-caused, was reported on Monday, Aug. 1.
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