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Wildfires continue to burn near Slocan, Ymir, Kaslo

The Southeast Fire Centre says 51 fires remain active in the Kootenays, of which 15 are under control, 10 are being held, and 26 are out of control.

In a news release, the agency said it has responded to 87 new fires in the past few days. Most were caused by lightning at high elevation.

“As fuels continue to dry and relative humidity has dropped, we anticipate seeing increased fire behaviour and complexity as holdover fires continue being discovered,” they said.

Unit crews are being established on several incidents. When wildfires exceed the capacity of initial attack resources, 20-person unit crews are deployed to do a variety of tasks.

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Briggs Creek 

The Briggs Creek wildfire about 11.5 kilometers west of Kaslo is now estimated to be 1,730 hectares. Most of this fire has burned in steep and mountainous terrain that was unsafe for crews and aviation resources to work on directly, the wildfire service said.

“This fire has since slowly backed downslope to established containment lines and is coming to an area of defendable ground where crews can start using direct attack strategies to suppress it,” they said.

There are now 45 firefighters supporting the control lines with water in some areas of the fire where water delivery is possible. In other areas, additional small-scale hand ignitions will occur to remove fuel between the fires edge and control lines.

Fourteen properties remain on evacuation alert.

Mulvey Creek 

The Mulvey Creek fire, about 4.5 kilometres from Slocan at the south end of Valhalla Park, is now estimated to be four hectares.

On Tuesday, skimmers and airtankers worked together on the fire, allowing ground crews to arrive and begin establishing containment lines. On Wednesday, five helicopters and 12 personnel were on site using direct attack strategies to suppress the fire.

While smoke is highly visible from Slocan and surrounding areas, BC Wildfire says no homes or infrastructure is threatened.

Wren Creek 

The Wren Creek wildfire about 6.5 kilometres northeast of the Ymir is estimated to be two hectares.

BC Wildfire says it is showing “moderately vigorous surface fire behaviour.”

Airtankers were on site Tuesday and successfully wrapped all sides of the fire with retardant. Eight personnel and one helicopter were on site Wednesday, being supported by heavy equipment to establish containment lines.

The fire is not currently threatening structures.

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