Today, crews are continuing burn-out operations on the Mount Midgely fire, which is causing extra smoke to issue from the blaze.
“This burn out is necessary to limit the potential growth and direction of the fire,” says bcwildfire.ca. “The objective is to secure containment of the north flank and will help establish 100% containment.”
Thirty-nine firefighters, five helicopters and one piece of heavy equipment are attacking the fire today.
Meanwhile, near Porthill, Idaho, residents previously affected by the Stage 2 voluntary evacuations have been downgraded to Stage 1. The most recent update at inciweb.nwcg.gov continues to list the fire as uncontained.
The Mount Midgely fire northwest of Creston was 50 per cent contained as of Thursday afternoon.
Crews have been working to build a guard around the lightning-started blaze, which is about 332 hectares (originally thought to be 600), by clearing flammable debris, dropping retardant or digging down until a level is reached where nothing can be burned.
As with yesterday, 60 firefighters, five helicopters and nine pieces of heavy equipment are battling the fire, which saw some increased activity due to strong winds yesterday as unburnt fuels caught fire, “but it was within the perimeter,” said Karlie Shaughnessy, a fire information officer with the Southeast Fire Centre.
Ground crews are continuing to work “on a sprinkler line at the extreme north end of the fire to support burnout operations, weather permitting,” said a bcwildfire.ca update. “Increased activity and smoke may be seen today from unburnt fuels within the fire’s perimeter.”
Although smoke is clearing today, a smoky skies advisory by the Environment Ministry and Interior Health Authority has not been lifted, and smoke could fill the Creston Valley again later this weekend if weather patterns persist.
“The wind in going to change direction again on Sunday, so it’s going be smoky like that again on Sunday and Monday,” said Shaughnessy.
South of the border, some Porthill residents remain under a voluntary evacuation alert as 110 firefighters and two helicopters work on the scene of the 2,480-hectare Parker Ridge fire.
A red flag warning is in effect, meaning “critical weather conditions have the potential to create extreme fire growth,” said an update at inciweb.nwcg.gov. “Firefighters will be strengthening structure protection efforts in Smith Creek by installing sprinklers.”
Despite strong winds yesterday, the uncontained fire spread very little. Farmers and firefighters burned stubble fields on Wednesday to prevent a possible spread.
“The fire has not had any significant growth for several days, but snags, logs and other fuel pockets within the fire perimeter continue to burn and put up smoke,” said the U.S. government website. “Crews have been busy constructing hand lines and doing mop-up between the Westside Road and the Kootenai River. Crews have also been removing dead standing and hazardous trees along the Westside Road to provide for safer travel conditions.”