Fire crews battle late season wildfire on both sides of international boundary

Wildfire breaks out on the border. No evacuation orders as crews succeed in controlling blaze near Chopaka

B.C. Forest Service personnel climb on board an Eclipse Astar helicopter to fight a wildfire that broke out just south of Chopaka in Washington state on Sunday afternoon.

Forestry crews on both sides of the border battled a wildfire this week that broke out near Nighthawk, Washington, at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“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 retardent 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 upslope 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 on Monday. “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 at Nighthawk. Helicopters and ground crews were also attacking the blaze from the American side.

No evacuation orders have been made, although there are a five houses in  the vicinity of the fire.


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