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RDKB says 55 homes under evacuation alert; air quality very poor

The Emergency Management Service is activating the Emergency Operations Centre to Level 1 to support wildfire response within the RDKB, according to Chris Marsh, RDKB manager of emergency programs.  He also said roughly 55 homes in the region are being put on evacuation alert due to wildfire activity.

“On Aug. 11, the Granby River and Big Sheep Creek Valleys were impacted by thunder storms. These storms arrived with lightning, but not very much rain. As such, lightning strikes by and large started fires immediately. The BC Wildfire Service was very challenged yesterday due to high winds and temperatures as well as an incredible number of new fires all across the southeast. Many fires were not able to be actioned immediately, which means that these fires had an opportunity to grow beyond the initial attack stage. At this point, there are numerous out of control wildfires burning in southeast BC. 

“The Southeast Fire Centre has advised that there are two areas of concern within the RDKB right now. The Toronto Creek fire, located north of Grand Forks at kilometer 13 on Granby Road, is burning on the east side of the valley. The EOC has put 22 address points on evacuation alert, and Grand Forks Fire and Rescue are delivering those alerts door to door right now.  As well, there is a fire burning just on the USA / Canada border between Rossland and Christina Lake.  Thirty-three address points in the Big Sheep Creek Valley and Santa Rosa areas will be put on evacuation alert once we receive final mapping from the Southeast Fire Centre. Those alerts will be delivered by firefighters from KBRFR and Christina Lake. 

“Air quality continues to be degraded across the RDKB, with monitoring stations reporting that the Air Quality Health Index exceeds the maximum value (on a scale of 1 to 10, the AQHI is currently at a 10+).  Those with respiratory conditions, the very young and the elderly should seek shelter indoors until conditions improve. 

“We fully expect that we will see additional fire starts and challenging fire conditions over the coming weeks. We appreciate all of the support we are receiving.”