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Crews contain border blaze

B.C. Forest  Service crews head out to a wildfire burning on the border between the Washington community of Nighthawk and the Canadian community of Chopaka, due west of the Chopaka-Nighthawk border crossing. - Steve Arstad/Black Press
B.C. Forest Service crews head out to a wildfire burning on the border between the Washington community of Nighthawk and the Canadian community of Chopaka, due west of the Chopaka-Nighthawk border crossing.
— image credit: Steve Arstad/Black Press

A different kind of border jumper had both sides of the Canada-U.S. border near Osoyoos working overtime on Sunday.

Forestry crews battled a wildfire that broke out early Sunday morning near Nighthawk, Wash. as flames leapt across to the Canadian side of the border by the afternoon. The blaze has since been contained and is now in the mop-up stage after consuming 120 hectares.

“It was originally reported as being located 700 metres south of the Canada-U.S. border. Because of our resource sharing agreement with states bordering B.C., we dispatched an air tanker out of Penticton to lay a line of retardant along the fire’s northern boundary,” said Kamloops Fire Information Officer Mary Ann Leach on Monday afternoon.

A 21-person fire crew was dispatched on Sunday, with 30 on-site Monday. The fire covers most of Mount Barber in Washington, and spread quite rapidly Sunday afternoon after being fanned by strong southerly up-slope winds. By late afternoon Sunday the fire had crossed the border into Canada, burning 60 hectares on the Canadian side and 150 in the U.S.

“We don’t believe we will see significant spread of the fire today,” Leach said. “Things are looking fairly good right now.”

Hot spots were flaring in sparse pine, sagebrush and grass on a mountainside immediately west of the border crossing stations. Helicopters and ground crews were also attacking the blaze from the American side. No evacuation orders have been made, although there are five houses in  the vicinity of the fire.

The fire danger rating remains at high for the South Okanagan with restrictions on open fires, including waste, slash, stubble, grass and fireworks until Oct. 15. Campfires are also banned across the Kamloops Fire Centre to help prevent human-caused wildfires and to protect public safety.

 

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