UPDATE 9:30 p.m. – The Gilpin Wildfire near Grand Forks, B.C. is now mapped at 224 hectares.
The Grand Forks Fire Department says the B.C. Wildfire Service has begun controlled burns on the east and west flanks of the grassland blaze to attempt to stop it.
While Highway 3 between Grand Forks and Christina Lake remains open, heavy smoke and visibility issues should be expected through the night, according to the latest bulletin from the B.C. Wildfire service.
The south flank of the fire is bordered by the Crowsnest Highway.
UPDATE 7:45 p.m. – The B.C. Wildfire Service has brought on additional crews to fight the Gilpin Fire.
A total of 72 firefighters, two helicopter, four pieces of heavy equipment and four air tankers are actioning the blaze.
The smaller fire near Billings stayed at two hectare and is 100 per cent contained, according to the B.C. Fire Information office.
UPDATE: Fire information officer Karlie Shaughnessy said no homes are being threatened but the fire is as close at 5 kilometers away from the nearest residences.
Two wildfires are burning near Grand Forks and Christina Lake. The fires forced the closure of Highway 3 while air tankers laid retardant, but the highway has since reopened to single-lane alternating traffic.
“Flames are visible from the highway,” said fire information officer Karlie Shaughnessy.
The larger of the two fires is burning five kilometers east of Grand Forks in the Gilpin area. It was originally estimated at four hectares, but has ballooned to 100 hectares. The south end of the fire is contained, but the rest of the blaze is burning rapidly through grass land.
Grand Forks along with B.C. Wildfire ground crews are on scene and air tankers are fighting the fire from above.
There are homes in the area, but none are currently threatened by the blaze.
The second fire is burning south of Christina Lake in the Billings area, right off Highway 3. It is currently about 2 hectares. The Christina Lake fire department has taken over that fire fight.
FortisBC voluntarily cut power to 1,875 residences in Grand Forks and Christina Lake so fire crews could safely lay retardant on the flames. Power has been restored to all but 30 residences in the Gilpin area. Fortis could not give an estimate when power will be restored to those properties.
The cause of both fires is still under investigation.