Police say the wildfire that began on Monday, August 18 five kilometres from the intersection of Hwy 95A and St. Mary Lake Road is likely related to a structure fire earlier that same day, which is being investigated as possible arson.
The wildfire was cause for concern on Monday afternoon, but because of a quick initial attack and the number of resources on the fire, was contained at .6 hectares.
The RDEK announced at about 8 p.m. Monday evening that the fire was 100 per cent contained.
“Thanks to a quick response and cooperative weather conditions, the fire along St. Mary Lake Road is now 100 per cent contained and in the mop-up stage,” said Tracy Van de Wiel, Information Officer for the RDEK. “There are still several fire fighters on the ground working on mop-up and putting out hot spots.
“Our sincere thanks to all our hardworking fire fighters.”
The structure fire was reported at about 4:30 a.m. says RCMP Cpl. Chris Newel.
“The property is outside the (Kimberley) fire protection area; BC Wildfire Management attended and monitored the situation to ensure the fire did not spread. Several neighbors assisted the property owner in keeping the fire contained.”
Newel says that shortly after noon on Monday a wildfire was reported in the same vicinity, and a number of agencies responded.
The fires are treated as two incidents by RCMP, Newel said, but investigation indicates that embers from the house fire may have been spread by the wind igniting the forest fire.
“The house fire investigation is very active; police have several leads which they are following up on,” Newel said.
The Kimberley Fire Department responded to the as well to assist the Forest Service.
Chief Al Collinson said that an initial attack crew of five firefighters attended the scene, there to provide whatever assistance the Forest Service required. Essentially, the City Fire Department is working for the province in situations like this.
The fire was in a potentially dangerous location.
“There was potential that it could have spread,” Collinson aid. “I don’t want to say it could have gone into town, because you never know, but the potential was there.”
The Southeast Fire Centre had two air tankers, a helicopter and two initial attack crews on the fire, along with Kimberley firefighters.