Washington Stickpin fire closing in on residents of Grand Forks, B.C.
Residents told they could be on evacuation alert at any time
Residents of a southern British Columbia town are on high alert as they keep an eye on a large wildfire making its way across the border from Washington state.
The Stickpin fire is now estimated at 175 square kilometres, an increase from the last estimate of 140 square kilometres, and is threatening to blow north towards the small communities of Grand Forks and Christina Lake.
"We're putting a great deal of effort [into] trying to pinch it off from the north," said Alan Hoffmeister, a fire information officer in Washington.
Officials in Grand Forks, just 15 kilometres away from the fire, are putting an evacuation plan in place.
At a well-attended town meeting on Thursday night, area residents were told they could be on evacuation alert at any time — meaning they would have to be ready to leave at a moment's notice.
At the meeting officials said Canadian firefighters would be crossing the border on Friday to help battle the blaze, as resources in Washington are limited.
The Stickpin fire is one of 33 large, uncontrolled wildfires burning in the state — many of them along the border.
"Frankly, we're very strapped for resources we need," said Hoffmeister.
"We've already sent some of our thin resources to the west to help over there, so it's a difficult situation."
Fire officials expect the Stickpin fire's growth to slow because the area where it's headed was burned in a previous wildfire, which means it will have less fuel.
Hoffmeister said wind conditions on Friday were also favourable, as they were blowing from the north, away from Grand Forks.
B.C. fire officials also said firefighters are increasing their efforts on the Paulson Pass fire, a 2.6-square-kilometre wildfire burning along Hwy. 3, 15 kilometres north of Christina Lake.
Firefighters want to keep the pass open as an evacuation route.
With files from Bob Keating