Southeastern B.C. forest fire severs highway east of Cranbrook

Southeastern B.C. forest fire severs highway east of Cranbrook

23 July 2008

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Canada — The largest fire burning in B.C. so far this summer is not threatening any homes, but it is complicating travel and communication in the southeastern part of the province.

Ground crews are arriving on the scene, five kilometres north of Fort Steele where the Lakit Mountain blaze was reported on Tuesday afternoon.

Within hours the flames had scorched three square kilometres of brush and had jumped Highway 93 and 95, cutting off travel between Fort Steele and the town of Wasa, 20 kilometres north.

It also burned through Telus lines, severing landline service to Ta Ta Creek, Wasa Lake and Lazy Lake, north of Cranbrook.

Two helicopters and three airtankers bombarded the rapidly spreading fire with water and retardant on Tuesday evening and continue the work on Wednesday.

Ground crews are set to begin building guards around the blaze, highways officials say a pilot car should be leading single lane traffic along Highways 93 and 95 by midday, and Telus crews are waiting for clearance to begin restoring fibre optic cables.

Several fires were sparked Tuesday in the Southern Interior, including a 10 hectare fire near Lumby east of Vernon and a small blaze caused by an abandoned campfire near the historic Myra Canyon, outside Kelowna, although neither fire threatened any homes.

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