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West Kootenay wildfire situation heats up

The West Kootenay wildfire map is now lit up like a Christmas tree, following the discovery of several more lightning-caused fires over the weekend.

The largest of them is the Slocan Bluffs fire, which stands at a little under ten hectares. It broke out Saturday a few kilometers north of Slocan.

Meanwhile, the Gamble Creek fire east of Salmo is about 4.5 hectares. It was discovered Friday.

Many other much smaller fires are burning too, including the West Kokanee fire, the Mount Heimdal fire, and the Mulvey Creek fire, and two fires at Koch Creek.

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There is also a cluster of small fires south of Galena Bay.

The largest fire in our region remains the Briggs Creek fire west of Kaslo, at nearly 1,700 hectares. Fourteen rural properties at South Fork have been on evacuation alert for two weeks.

The BC Wildfire Service says the fire remains visible on the face between Kemp Creek and Nashton Creek. Winds on Saturday pushed the fire away from containment lines along the east and north flanks. As they expected, stronger winds and higher temperatures increased smoke and fire behavior compared to recent days.

Ten firefighters are assigned to the blaze with the support of a helicopter.

“Where opportunities exist small-scale ignitions will continue to be conducted to ensure the fire isn’t allowed to gain upslope momentum,” the BC Wildfire Service wrote.

Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-30s for the rest of the week, with no rain in sight.

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