Firefighters taking control of Slocan fire

Firefighters are closer to getting a handle on a wildfire that has been burning for more than a week on a ridge above Slocan Park.

Firefighters are closer to getting a handle on a wildfire that has been burning for more than a week on a ridge above Slocan Park.

Information officer Julie Castonguay said Thursday morning the fire is now 40 per cent contained. It officially measures 90 hectares — compared to the 120 hectares originally estimated.

About 100 firefighters were working on the blaze, along with 15 support staff and six helicopters, down from eight.

Crews completed a controlled burn Tuesday to help create a control line on the fire’s southern flank, resulting in increased visibility of smoke and flames. Although a second day of burning was planned Wednesday, it was deemed unnecessary.

The fire’s east and south flanks were fully surrounded with control and hose lines, and crews expected to start working inward toward the fire. A line around the west flank was almost complete as well.

Castonguay said cooler, wet weather this week “definitely helped” and “it looks like it will be a good day on the fire.”

Nine helipads are helping crews gain access to the fire.

A night watch is no longer in place, but an evacuation alert issued a week ago Tuesday remains in effect for 47 homes.

Tubers and kayakers are being asked to be be careful as helicopters are using the Slocan River as a water source, especially deeper sections.

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