Halcyon Hot Springs area on evacuation alert

Strong winds and dry conditions overnight pushed the Galena Bay fire to an estimated 1,200 hectares, or 12 square kilometres in size as crews continued to respond to volatile conditions and extreme fire behaviour, says a spokeswoman for the Southeast Fire centrein Castlegar.

Gwen Eamer said fire officials are currently assessing the changing situation and developing plans to slow the fire’s progression.

“The fire has grown primarily toward the south and the east,” she said in a statement released today. “Crews today are working with heavy machinery to construct a fire guard along the expanded west flank of the fire. That is the flank closest to structures and the highway.”

Nineteen Type-1 firefighters are working with five helicopters and seven pieces of heavy machinery to build containment lines.

An evacuation alert issued by the Regional District of the Central Kootenay and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District remains in place for the Halcyon Hot Springs area. For more information please contact the Emergency Operations Centre at 250-352-7701.

Smoke from the Galena Bay fire is visible across the West Kootenays. The fire is expected to continue producing significant smoke. Please visit www.interiorhealth.ca for more information on smoke and your health.

The fire is visible from Highway 23, and smoke may affect visibility. The public is asked to contact the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure at www.drivebc.ca or call 1-800-550-4997 before travelling in the area.

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 at www.bcwildfire.ca, or call 1-888-3FOREST.