July 12, 2018 4:48 pm
Updated: July 13, 2018 12:23 pm

Wildfire in east Kamloops mapped at 500 hectares

WATCH: B.C. wildfire crews are battling a fast-moving grass fire just east of Kamloops. Wind has helped fan the flames and push the thick grey smoke high above the city.

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UPDATE: The wildfire east of Kamloops has now grown to 500 hectares Friday morning.

An evacuation order on homes on Shuswap Road east of the Sage Meadow trailer park has been rescinded as the fire is moving away from residential areas.

The B.C. Wildfire Service describes the blaze as displaying rank 3 fire behaviour that is a “moderately vigorous surface fire.”

Shuswap Road is once again open to traffic.

Fire Information Officer Marla Catherall says 28 personnel will continue the fight overnight and into Friday morning.

There is no word on what caused the blaze.

WATCH: Grass fire breaks out in Kamloops

ORIGINAL:

Fire crews are currently responding to a wildfire on the east side of Kamloops.

The B.C. Wildfire Service says 49 firefighters, airtankers, one helicopter and fire investigators are responding to the fire, which is along Shuswap Road.

By Thursday afternoon, the fire had ballooned from 20 to 200 hectares in size, growing quickly to 380 hecatres by nightfall.

WATCH: Water bombers respond to grass fire on east side of Kamloops

Kamloops Fire Rescue is also on scene, and said that as a precaution, half a dozen homes on Shuswap Road east of the Sage Meadows trailer park were evacuated.

Residents who live on Tk’emlups Reserve were notified by phone and email and been placed under evacuation alert.

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Michael Mehta, a professor of Environmental Studies at Thompson Rivers University said the smoke from the fire is already having an impact on the city’s air quality.

He told Global News his monitors began to show high levels of air pollution beginning around 2 p.m.

“They are considerably higher than into the north of Kamloops than they are to the south of Kamloops because of the direction of the wind, and that’s the way that the smoke is moving but that can change,” he said.

“[What] we saw last year with the forest fires is that the movements will change quite frequently throughout the day and then the evening and that pollution will distribute itself differently.”

Mehta said as a precaution, people should stay indoors and use air conditioning.

There were no structures immediately threatened on Thursday afternoon but the wind was pushing the smoke into Kamloops.

The fire is visible from Highway 1.

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