August 13, 2018 8:59 pm
Updated: August 13, 2018 9:07 pm

There are so many North Okanagan blazes, firefighters can only tackle a handful right now

Watch Above: With more than 27 fires burning between the Lumby area and Three Valley Gap, fire officials are having to prioritize which blazes crews will actively fight. Megan Turcato reports.

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The BC Wildfire Service is dealing with more than 27 fires in what officials are calling the Monashee Complex, stretching from the Lumby, B.C. area to Three Valley Gap on the Trans Canada Highway.

However, they are only actively fighting a handful of them.

“As you can imagine, the province of B.C. is extremely busy with fires all over the province including adjacent to communities and so there just aren’t enough resources to man and put personnel on every fire,” incident commander Jane Park explained.

READ MORE: Lightning sparks 21 new fires in Southern Interior; 5 near Peachland

The fires in the Monashee Complex are lower on the priority list because they’re burning in remote areas and not threatening homes.

“The province of B.C. has higher priorities elsewhere and that’s where the resources should go,” said Park.

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READ MORE: B.C. wildfire update Monday: More fires now burning than during record 2017 season

Regional priorities in the Monashee Complex include the 508-hectare, out-of-control Harris Creek Fire southeast of Lumby; a 332-hectare blaze east of Sugar Lake and a 1,861-hectare fire east of Mabel Lake.

READ MORE: Thickest smoke of 2018 so far rolls into the Okanagan

All three fires are considered out of control.

Crews were also working on the 35-hectare Devil Creek Fire, which is posing unique challenges to firefighters.

“We’ve had a number of safety issues, in terms of, very large diameter trees that are falling and making it hazardous for crews,” Park said.

The blanket of smoke across the region is another challenge as low visibility often keeps helicopters grounded.

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