Crews battle several new wildfires across Kamloops Fire Centre

Click to play video: 'Okanagan crews battle several new wildfires'
Okanagan crews battle several new wildfires
WATCH: Following a number of new fires this weekend across the region, officials are warning people to be vigilant amid tinder-dry conditions. Taya Fast reports. – Apr 22, 2024

It was a busy weekend for crews across the Kamloops Fire Centre, with nine new fire starts between Friday and Sunday.

One of those fires sparked just outside Oliver, B.C., on Saturday.

“Crews responded over the weekend as well as with a helicopter assisting over the weekend, just to really help cool down the flame front on that fire to make it more accessible and easier to work for crews on the ground,” said BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) Information Officer Shae Stearns.

What’s being called the Dutton Creek wildfire grew to around four hectares in size in the Gallagar Lake area and is now classified as being held.

“At this time crews may be finishing establishing those control lines, conducting fuel management activities and mopping up around that fire,” said Stearns.

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Click to play video: '1,600 hectare wildfire burning between Quesnel, Williams Lake'
1,600 hectare wildfire burning between Quesnel, Williams Lake

“So that mean extinguishing the fire after it has been brought down, under to that more direct attack level and getting in deep to where it might be burning underground.”

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Fire officials say small fires, like the Dutton Creek fire, are not unusual for this time of year.

“We see lots of different types of fires early in the year, we’ve had various types of some small grass fires some unintended campfires or burn piles going throughout the year,” said Oliver Fire Department Deputy Chief Rob Graham.

“It does seem to get earlier and earlier as things go along year after year. But we just prepare ourselves and try to be ready for anything that comes.”

According to BC Wildfire there have been 12 wildfires within the Kamloops fire centre resulting in 49 hectares burned since April 1.

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Of those 12 wildfires, 11 are suspected human caused and still under investigation.

“It’s really important, there are no prohibitions right now in the Kamloops Fire Center for campfires or open burning, but to take the necessary safety precautions,” said Stearns.

“Such as having water on hand, a proper fuel break and always having someone monitor the fire until it’s fully extinguished.”

Click to play video: 'Early start to fire season in B.C. interior'
Early start to fire season in B.C. interior

The fire danger rating remains low to moderate in the Kamloops Fire Centre, despite underlying drought conditions.

What’s needed now is rain, and a lot of it, before wildfire season officially begins.

“We still do have some of those underlying drought conditions to look at. The long-range precipitation forecasts do have a limited scale so, it’s not necessarily that we can forecast long range,” said Stearns.

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“But to make an impact on this drought code, we would need to have rain, a small amount of rain or precipitation over a longer period of time to make a lasting impact into that. And that rain right now is currently unlikely.”

Click to play video: 'Okanagan crews battle two early season wildfires amid dry conditions'
Okanagan crews battle two early season wildfires amid dry conditions

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