The Galena Bay fire has grown this evening, pushed by strong winds associated with a thunderstorm. Crews continue to battle steep and rugged terrain, high temperatures, rolling debris and extreme fire behaviour, says a statement from the Southeast Fire Centre offices in Castlegar.
“Today’s heat, dry conditions and strong winds increased the fire’s intensity, pushing it southward,” said the statement.” The fire has primarily grown across the slope, not toward the highway or structures. Officials are currently unable to estimate the fire’s size.”
It said an Initial Attack crew remains on alert to respond in the event of new fires caused by wind-blown embers. A Fire Warden will also monitor the fire overnight.
The fire is visible from Highway 23S, and smoke may affect visibility. The public is asked to contact the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure at www.drivebc.ca or 1-800-550-4997 before travelling in the area.
Crews across the Fire Centre responded to 23 new fire starts today; most of those were caused by lightning. Although today’s new fires were concentrated in the Columbia Zone, areas that received significant precipitation in the past week were also active.
Despite recent precipitation in many areas across the East and West Kootenays, the Fire Danger Rating is increasing due to high temperatures and low humidities. With additional lightning-caused fires expected in the coming days, it is critical that crews are not required to respond to preventable human-caused fires. A ban on campfires, fireworks and all open fire remains in place across the region, the statement said.
The public reports more than half of all wildfires. Please continue to report smoke or flames by calling the toll-free emergency line at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most mobile networks. For further information, please visit the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch website atwww.bcwildfire.ca, or call 1-888-3FOREST.