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UPDATED: Evacuation alert issued for Slocan Park

Fire crews are tackling a blaze this morning on a ridge above Slocan Park that has resulted in an evacuation alert.

The fire broke out Saturday afternoon on the east side of the valley following a lightning strike. It grew to about 100 hectares yesterday, fanned by high winds.

Early Tuesday, Slocan Park and Crescent Valley residents were placed on evacuation alert. The notice covers 47 homes on or off Highway 6 between the street addresses 2826 and 3024 — from Legendary Meats to the Slocan Valley Co-op.

As of 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Southeast Fire Centre dispatched a 20-person ground attack crew, four helicopters and two small water bombers to the site.

A Type 1 provincial incident management team was expected to assume command of the fire.

"[The fire] did not move toward any residences overnight," Turner said. "However, we did have an initial attack crew monitoring the fire in case there were any changes and it moved further down the mountain. That did not take place. The winds were quite strong and the fire did grow, but luckily it was mostly on top of the ridge."

Turner said the fire is still showing "aggressive" behaviour and there is potential for further growth, given the dry fuel in the area, but he expects it would be to the northeast, further away from any homes.

Although no homes are in immediate danger, the evacuation alert will remain in place.

Regional District of Central Kootenay fire chief Terry Swan said they "want residents to be prepared in case the situation worsens. The safety of our residents is our first concern."

The alert suggests that residents pack some belongings and be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Those with livestock are also being asked to move their animals to a safe location.

Swan said the decision whether to rescind the evacuation notice will be made jointly with the Southeast Fire Centre, but doesn't expect it to be discussed until late today.

“The Southeast Fire Centre is giving it everything they’ve got,” he said. “Weather permitting, we hope the fire will be manageable very soon.”

Crews were already working on the fire Monday, but resident Chris Sapriken found its flare-up "alarming."

"It was enough that, with two kids and my parents, we felt there was too much ground to cover to not be prepared," he said. "We just packed our bags in case the order comes between now and whenever it's been put out for good."

The RDCK's sprinkler protection units are on standby. RCMP also conducting traffic control last night because of the large number of people stopping on the highway to watch the fire.

• A fire reported near Kaslo around 8 p.m. last night is now contained and in mop-up stage. Although it was in fire department jurisdiction, the Southeast Fire Centre also responded.

It was less than one hectare.

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