East Kootenays heat up with growing wildfires

St. Mary’s Reserve fire broke out Friday, now burning an estimated 398 hectares in size

Hundreds of residents have been forced from their homes near Cranbrook and Kimberley due to a new out-of-control wildfire suspected to be human caused.

The wildfire, burning in the lower portion of St. Mary’s Reserve, broke out Friday and is now burning an estimated 398 hectares in size about 15 kilometres northeast of Cranbrook.

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Thirty homes within the reserve have been evacuated.

A perimeter guard protecting the First Nations community has not been breached by the fire, spokeswoman Jodi Gravelle said in a statement. An investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of the fire.

Meanwhile, the Lamb Creek wildfire burning 18 kilometres southwest of Cranbrook has prompted evacuations near Moyie Lake for more than 300 properties in the past 24 hours.

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That fire is burning at roughly 220 hectares in size, being tackled by 35 firefighters, five helicopters and six pieces of heavy equipment.

Both fires are currently considered out of control, and zero per cent contained.

There were more than 160 fires burning across the province Friday, and the wildfire service says unseasonably hot and dry conditions through the weekend could fuel fire activity.

What do the wildfires look like where you are? Submit your photos and videos here.

With files from the Canadian Press


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Lamb Creek wildfire has forced hundreds of properties to evacuate. (Twitter - @amandab1973)