September 6, 2018 1:36 am

Flames and smoke result of BC Wildfire Service work near Keremeos

Back on August 22, poor visibility was hampering fire suppression efforts in the Similkameen region where three "wildfires of note" continue to burn. In one community, people are having difficulty breathing. Shelby Thom reports.


Smoke and fire are said to be visible from Keremeos and Highway 3 as a result of a controlled burn set by the BC Wildfire Service.

A planned hand ignition was performed in the Bullock Creek drainage, three kilometres west of Keremeos on Wednesday morning.

The fire was necessary to burn off forest fuels between the established control lines and the perimeter of the Snowy Mountain wildfire, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

“[It] will help enhance the overall safety, efficiency and effectiveness of fire-management efforts,” the BC Wildfire Service said in a post on Facebook at 9 p.m.

“Crews will monitor it and return to the ground tomorrow morning.”

Fixed wing airtankers and helicopters were on standby to support ground crews.

The Snowy Mountain wildfire is 17,670 hectares in size. While it is still an active fire, it is being held.

“This means we do not expect the fire to spread beyond this determined area,” the service said.

Smoke can be expected from the fire in the coming weeks until significant rain or snow accumulates.

“If smoke is seen coming from well within a fire’s perimeter and the area is surrounded by black, burned material, this is typically not a concern,” it said.

Showers are expected at the Snowy Mountain wildfire area Friday night and through Saturday along with gusty winds.

The wildfire has scorched an area just south of Keremeos to 22 kilometres south where it has crept over the U.S. border and is 13 kilometres at its widest burn area.

The Snowy Mountain Wildfire has burned more than 17,000 hectares of land in the Similkameen.

BC Wildfire Service/ Global Okanagan

To the northwest of Keremeos, the Old Tom Creek wildfire has burned through 1,130 hectares and is now visible from Highway 3, but there is no threat to the route, according to the service.

“BC Wildfire Service crews and helicopters have been working on limiting the spread of the fire and ensuring it does not pose a threat to values,” a BC Wildfire Service report on the fire posted Wednesday afternoon said. “These works will continue over the coming days.”

“Danger tree assessments and falling is ongoing. Crews will continue to patrol other flanks and extinguish hot spots within 100 ft of the perimeter.”

The Old Tom Creek wildfire is said to be held.

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

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