August 28, 2018 3:59 pm
Updated: August 28, 2018 6:13 pm

Rain helps, but three wildfires in B.C.’s Similkameen region still burning out of control

A A

It’s two down and a lot more to go, regarding wildfires in B.C’s Southern Interior.

The Mount Gottfriedsen and Darke Creek wildfires have been classified as being under control, and those fires have been taken off the B.C. Wildfire Service’s interactive map. Helping the cause was weekend rain, with 6.4 millimetres falling in the Central Okanagan.

“Rain is beneficial and (firefighting conditions) have improved too, by the fact that we have cooler temperatures,” said B.C. Wildfire Service information officer Nicole Bonnett. “Those usually go hand-in-hand with reducing fire behaviour and fire intensity, which gives crews a bolster in their efforts.”

Story continues below

READ MORE: Controlled burns planned for two North Okanagan wildfires

“They’ve been making really good progress across the boards with most of these fires. Having the weather work in your favour is ideal.”

According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, once a fire disappears from its active map, the fire is considered out or they’re considered under control. The under control classification is the first stage of an inactive fire, with fire crews monitoring it to see if any hot spots flare up.

However, not all fires in the Kamloops Fire Region are close to being put out. In fact, three in the Similkameen region are still classified as being out of control.

READ MORE: B.C. wildfires have now scorched more land than in any year except 2017, and they’re closing fast

On Tuesday, the BCWS issued a press release stating “the South Okanagan experienced periods of rain over the weekend (4-8mm on August 26th) which lowered temperatures and increased relative humidity in the region. Anticipated weather conditions are helping crews, and the risk to public safety has been greatly reduced.

“The weather forecast is for continued lower temperatures with minimal rain and light winds. Environment Canada says air quality improvements that began yesterday have continued overnight and many areas are now seeing considerable improvements in particulate matter concentrations. However, fire activity is still widespread and the potential remains for smoke to return.”

Below is a list of notable fires in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Boundary regions:

OKANAGAN

Harris Creek Forest Service Road

  • Location: 16 kilometres southeast of Lumby.
  • Size: 760 hectares.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Status: Active. Ninety-nine personnel on site, including 60 from the Canadian military, along with 10 pieces of heavy equipment and seven helicopters.
  • BCWS notes: “Ground crews will conduct small scale planned ignitions in order to bring the fire to the guard, conditions permitting. Work areas will be danger tree assessed prior to crew entry.”

Sugar Mountain

  • Location: Four kilometres east of Sugar Lake, or 59 km northwest of Vernon.
  • Size: 394 hectares.
  • Cause: Under investigation.
  • Status: Active, classified as out of control. Zero personnel on site though the fire is being monitored daily by aircraft.

Mabel Creek

  • Location: Six kilometres east of Mabel Lake.
  • Size: 1,250 hectares.
  • Cause: Under investigation; suspected lightning caused.
  • Status: Active, with five personnel on site, along with 14 pieces of heavy equipment. An area restriction order is in place for crown land in the vicinity of Mabel Lake.

Whip Creek

  • Location: Three kilometres south of Mabel Creek wildfire
  • Size: 504 hectares.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Status: Active.

Juliet Creek

  • Location: 47 kilometres southwest of Merritt.
  • Size: 2,432 hectares.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Status: Active, classified as out of control. Sixty-three personnel on site along with 13 pieces of heavy equipment. Air support available as needed.
  • BCWS notes: “Crews work on the south and east flank mopping up and extinguishing hot spots on line above Debbie Lake. Continue building the guard west along south flank. Remove any old hose lays no longer in use.”

SIMILKAMEEN

Cool Creek

  • Location: 35 kilometres west of Keremeos.
  • Size: 17,341 hectares.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Status: Active, classified as out of control. Thirty-seven personnel on site along with 15 pieces of heavy equipment. Air support available as needed.
  • BCWS notes: “Machine guard along the west flank was completed. Crews will continue to establish fuel free line from Smith Creek towards main staging. Machine guards continuing to be built south towards the former Placer Lake fire.”

Old Tom Creek

  • Location: Seven kilometres west of Olalla.
  • Size: 1,025 hectares.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Status: Active, classified as out of control. One hundred and 25 personnel on site with 14 pieces of heavy equipment. Air support available as needed.
  • BCWS notes: “Push more machine built-lines in on the N/NE flank. Continue to mop up Joe Eins drainage. Crews were supported with helicopters on the SW flank where the terrain is difficult to place crews in. Crews will continue planned ignitions along the southeast flank of the fire to tie containment lines into scree slopes and follow with mop up. Crews will continue to patrol and mop-up the west and north flanks.”

Snowy Mountain

  • Location: 14 kilometres south of Keremeos.
  • Size: 15,189 hectares.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Status: Active; classified as being held. Four personnel on site.
  • BCWS notes: “One hundred foot mop-up done on the east side of Barrington Creek. Prepping a hose lay to the west of Barrington Creek and monitoring the fire up the slope.”

BOUNDARY

Bulldog Mountain

  • Location: 32 kilometres northwest of Castlegar.
  • Size: 1,589 hectares.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Status: Active. Twenty-seven personnel on site, along with 10 helicopters and two pieces of heavy equipment.
  • BCWS notes: “Helicopters plan to bucket priority areas. Crew completed guard on the west and east side of the fire. Crews have made excellent progress on extinguishing hot spots along the eastern guard. Burn off operations were completed on the west and crews continue to mop up and patrol this line. Great progress was made on the south perimeter. Crews tied in machine and hand guards to existing roads.”

Syringa Creek

  • Location: 16 kilometres northwest of Castlegar.
  • Size: 1,423 hectares.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Status: Active, with 26 personnel on site with 10 helicopters and two pieces of heavy equipment.
  • BCWS notes: “As smoke dissipates, this fire will become more visible from surrounding communities including Castlegar.”

Deer Creek

  • Location: 35 kilometres northwest of Castlegar.
  • Size: 1,459 hectares.
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Status: Active, with 27 personnel on site and five pieces of heavy equipment.

Canadian firefighters, left, and U.S. firefighters meet at the border as they battle the Horns Mountain / Santa Rosa wildfire that’s burning in Washington state and B.C.

Johnny Walker / USFS

Santa Rosa / Horns Mountain

  • Location: Washington state and B.C.; 13 kilometres southeast of Christina Lake and 22 km southwest of Rossland.
  • Size: Washington state (4,657 acres / 1,884 hectares) and B.C. (926 acres / 374 hectares).
  • Cause: Lightning.
  • Status: Active. Fifty-seven personnel on site, along with five pieces of heavy equipment.
  • BCWS notes: “Crews are continuing to mop up from control lines. Crews successfully burnt off a patch of fuel within the fire perimeter. Mop up along the perimeter is going well. Crews continue to focus on critical infrastructure and are making good progress. The fire stayed within established control lines on the Canadian portion of the fire.”
  • USFS notes: “Crews will continue to hold, secure, and mopup all containment lines where it is safe to do so. Suppression repair operations on all divisions will continue where appropriate.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.