Hiker saved by encountering wall of flame near Invermere

Man had to be rescued after he’d been hiking for six days in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park

A backcountry hiker had to be plucked from the path of an oncoming wildfire near B.C’s Columbia Valley.

The man was hiking on the trail in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park for six days, RCMP Sgt. Bob Vatamaniuk says, and was low on energy and supplies when he reported he was met by a wall of flames.

The man activated his handheld satellite communication system, sending a coded call for help to a centre in Houston.

In turn, the centre relayed the call to B.C., where police contacted a local search and rescue team.

Even before the team was able to set out, the man had been picked up and airlifted to safety by a helicopter crew working on the nearby wildfire.

“Knowing that he couldn’t turn around and walk another six days, he initiated his SOS request,” Vatamaniuk said.

The BC Wildfire Service says the Mount Assiniboine wildfire remains active.

READ MORE: Wildfire closes big stretch of highway through Kootenay National Park

READ MORE: BC Wildfire Service monitoring fire over 4,000 hectares

It was sparked by lightning on July 15 and has burned 48-square kilometres of woodland in the provincial park, which is next to Banff National Park.

The Canadian Press