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Richter Mountain blaze a not-so-gentle reminder of how quickly wildfires can grow

The Richter Mountain wildfire is now being held at 403 hectares, officials say. B.C. Wildfire Service

Seven days after it sparked to life, the Richter Mountain wildfire is now considered held.

The blaze, listed at 403 hectares, is located approximately 14 kilometres south of Cawston in steep terrain along Highway 3.

It’s believed lightning caused the fire, which was first reported on Wednesday.

A photo showing the steep terrain firefighters are facing in battling the Richter Mountain wildfire. BC Wildfire Service
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At that time, it was listed as three hectares in size. However, it quickly grew to 25 hectares, then 60. On Friday, it exploded in size, fanned by overnight winds. By Saturday, it was estimated to be 250 hectares.

“Under the right conditions, whether that be hot and dry, windy, et cetera, it is possible for fires to grow substantial amounts overnight and during the day,” said B.C. Wildfire Service information officer Jody Lucius.

“We always ask people to be prepared for the potential for wildfire in their area.”

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On Monday, the B.C. Wildfire Service announced the fire was being held after reaching 403 hectares.

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It said the fire is now primarily a smouldering ground fire and is not producing a lot of smoke.

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On Tuesday, around 145 firefighters were actively battling the fire — as was the case on Monday — along with heavy equipment and six helicopters.

A map outlining the Richter Mountain wildfire near Cawston, B.C. BC Wildfire Service

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The fire resulted in a smoky skies advisory and an evacuation alert for 10 properties. The alert was later rescinded.

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The B.C. Wildfire Service says the blaze is now showing a low level of fire activity.

With more hot weather en route for the region, however, the B.C. Wildfire Service is asking the public to be fire aware.

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“In the area where we are, the Richter Mountain wildfire, we are anticipating continuing hot and dry conditions,” said Lucius. “And that will lead to some higher fire danger potential.

“In addition to being prepared for fire, of course, we’re asking that everybody is extra cautious if they are using fire or ATVs and that type of thing in their journeys.”

With the blaze occurring near Highway 3, the B.C. Wildfire Service said motorists passing through the area should proceed slowly without stopping and that they should watch out for falling rocks and debris along the road.

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