A spectacular lightning show through the North Thompson and Robson Valleys on Friday touched off a number of small forest fires around Valemount.

Extreme fire risk continues this week. On July 24th, Dustin Eno of the Prince George Fire Centre reported three new fires in the Robson Valley fire Zone: one up Swift Mountain, 2.5 km north of Swift Creek and about 3 km east of Highway 5; another about 7 km east of Valemount on Mount McKirdy; and the largest, on the west side of Canoe Mountain, about 12 km south of Valemount. That one had reached 2 hectares in size at one point.

Four crews along with their gear were deployed by parachutes on Saturday morning to fight the fire on McKirdy. Local resident Art Carson caught some stills and video of the parattack crews deploying from C-GVKB, a Douglas DC-3 owned by Kenn Borek Air Ltd. of Calgary.

“Due to the speed of fixed wing aircraft,” says Eno, “parachutes are often the fastest way for us to deploy crews on to a fire, especially in areas with limited road access.”

All parattack crews for the province are based out of Fort St. John, which is within the Prince George Fire Centre.

A fourth fire was reported Saturday, about 25 km south of the Village on ridge on the west side of Kinbasket. Eno stated Sunday morning that crews are monitoring this fire, but they are not actively working to control it.

“Due to the precipitation that the area received, combined with its location on a ridge top, it is expected that this fire will extinguish itself naturally within the next couple days,” said Eno.

As of Monday evening, the fire on Canoe has been downgraded to “patrol status”, which means that there is no longer active work on it, but it will be monitored for any residual hotspots. The other fires in the Valemount area have been declared out.

There were a number of other fires started over the weekend by lightning further south and west of Valemount, including one at Chappell Creek near Highway 5, two just south of Blue River, and two in Wells Gray Provincial Park, all of which were small, but still burning as of Monday. They are all in the Kamloops Fire Centre’s region.

Check out http://apps.gov.bc.ca/pub/dmf-viewer/?siteid=5131184402955244847 for updates on current wildfires in BC.

Photos by: Korie Marshall, Art Carson and