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Expect increased smoke from Meachen Creek wildfire

BC Wildfire Service said if the skies clear, people may notice a significant smoke column that can last for several hours.

In a media release Sunday, the BC Wildfire Service said the weather permitting, crews will be conducting planned ignitions on the Meachen Creek wildfire located within the Meachen Creek drainage, approximately 10 kilometres southwest of St. Mary Lake in the Southeast Fire Centre.

The BC Wildfire Service said this planned ignition will remove unburned fuels between the fire and the constructed machine guard on the eastern flank to prevent fire spread. The timing of this controlled burn will be dependent on appropriate weather conditions; therefore, it could occur any time over the next few days, and as early as Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018.

"Under the current circumstances with heavy smoke, this may not be visible to surrounding communities," BC Wildfire Service said. "If the skies clear, people may notice a significant smoke column that can last for several hours. Residents should not be alarmed by the increased smoke."

The Meachen Creek wildfire is currently estimated to be 6,996 hectares in size. Crews are working with heavy equipment to build and reinforce machine guard. Aircraft resources will be used as visibility permits. This fire experienced little activity and has remained in the Meachen Creek drainage. The size of this fire has changed due to more accurate mapping. An incident management team is transitioning onto this fire today to work toward taking control of the fire. For detailed information on the Meachen Creek wildfire, visit the Wildfires of Note page on the bcwildfire.ca website or use the following link: http://ow.ly/Swnf30lsHQm

The evacuation order put into place by the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) remains in effect for the St. Mary Lake area, from the west boundary of the City of Kimberley to the Redding Creek/St. Mary River convergence, including St. Mary Lake Road and Lakefront Road. The evacuation alert remains in effect for the City of Kimberley and properties in the RDEK directly south and southeast of the City of Kimberley municipal boundary.

For more information on the order and alert, please call the Regional District of East Kootenay at 250 426-2188 or visit its website at: www.rdek.bc.ca

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: http://www.bcwildfire.ca