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West Kootenay wildfires show little growth

One of the most visible wildfires sparked by lightning in the West Kootenay last week has been declared out, while the others have not seen much growth.

Southeast Fire Centre information officer Kim Wright says the Halfway Creek fire east of Salmo has been snuffed.

But they continue to work on several other fires, including the Frog Peak cluster of six fires, whose smoke can be seen from the Slocan Valley.

Wright said they are fighting the fire with one helicopter and two ground crews using a “priority sequence.”

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“They’ll be working on fires closest to communities and also fires with the most potential for unwanted growth,” she said.

All of the fires are under one hectare. None have showed any measurable growth in the last day.

Meanwhile, the Mount Ferguson fire four kilometers south of Harrop remains estimated at 1.5 hectares. It’s being tackled with one helicopter and three ground crews. Air tanker support is available, but wasn’t necessary today, Wright said.

The fires were among more than two dozen in the East and West Kootenay that started when a storm passed through the region. With rising temperatures forecast this week, Wright says they expect to find  additional “holdover fires.”

None are threatening any structures.

Wright said because the storms were forecast, they were able to prepare for them.

“Resource levels are adequate for current and anticipated conditions,” she said, adding that while the fire season has been off to a slow start in this region and around the province, it’s still a good idea to be prepared.

She said homes and businesses can take “easy and inexpensive” steps to conform with FireSmart principles.

Temperatures in the West Kootenay are expected to reach the high 30s later this week.

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