A wildfire burning near Highway 3 about 26 km northwest of Creston, shut down the main southern route to Alberta for several hours on Saturday.
The Blazed Creek Fire has been highly visible from the highway for several days, but the fire situation changed Saturday afternoon prompting the road closure.
Later in the day the closure was changed to a travel advisory from the junction with Highway 6 to the junction with Highway 21.
Drive BC says, “Possible sudden closures due to wildfire activity. Travellers are advised to be prepared for an extended delay or closure.”
A detour is available via Hwy 6 to Nelson, and Hwy 3A to the Kootenay Lake Ferry.
That stretch of highway is already congested however due to the Shambala Music Festival taking place near Salmo.
The lightning-caused fire was discovered Tuesday, August 7.
In the last 24 hours it has grown from an estimated 60 hectares to 500 hectares due to weather conditions including strong winds.
Southeast Fire Centre information officer Ashley Davidoff says the fire is exhibiting extreme fire behaviour.
“BC Wildfire Service recommended the closure of Hwy 3 between Salmo and Creston as power lines and a transportation corridor are in the area,” explained Davidoff.
Ground crews, heavy equipment and helicopters were on scene earlier in the day, but had to be removed due to safety concerns.
“The fire behaviour is too extreme,” said Davidoff. “Once the conditions become suitable again, these crews will again provide response.”
CLOSED – #BCHwy3 from Junction with #BCHwy6 to junction with #BCHwy21 due to forest fire activity. Assessment in progress. Detour via #BCHwy6 to Nelson, and #BCHwy3A to #Balfour, Kootenay Lake Ferry and #Creston. No estimated time of opening. https://t.co/O6ODEvGhmJ
— DriveBC K (@DriveBC_K) August 11, 2018