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51 firefighters battling Dry Lake blaze near Princeton

The Dry Lake fire was discovered on Sunday, and is located around 24 kilometres northwest of Princeton and 13 km northeast of Tulameen.
The Dry Lake fire was discovered on Sunday, and is located around 24 kilometres northwest of Princeton and 13 km northeast of Tulameen. BC Wildfire Service

The largest wildfire burning in the Kamloops Fire Centre remained approximately the same size on Tuesday morning as it was on Monday.

According to BC Wildfire statistics, the Dry Lake fire near Princeton was approximately 21 hectares in size.

The fire was discovered on Sunday, and is located around 24 km northwest of Princeton and 13 km northeast of Tulameen.

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Read more: Wildfire evacuation alerts issued for 43 properties near Princeton

It’s believed to have been caused by lightning, and 51 firefighters, three helicopters and 10 pieces of heavy equipment are battling the blaze.

On Monday, the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) issued an evacuation alert for 43 properties. To view the affected properties, click here.

RDOS chair Karla Kozakevich said the evacuation alert will stay in place, though she noted BC Wildfire told her that as of 10 a.m., the fire was expected to be around 90 per cent contained.

Kozakevich told Global News that BC Wildfire’s update was a relief.

“Going to bed at night as a board chair, knowing that there is a fire in our area, and wondering how that can change, is a little bit stressful and nerve-wracking,” said Kozakevich.

“So to come in this morning and get a positive update from our emergency centre is wonderful.”

Click to play video 'Largest fire in B.C. burning near Princeton' Largest fire in B.C. burning near Princeton
Largest fire in B.C. burning near Princeton – Aug 3, 2020

The evacuation alert, according to Kozakevich, is affecting rural as well as camping and vacation properties near the town of Tulameen.

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“Many of these (evacuation alert) properties are along Highway 5A and Round Lake Road,” said Kozakevich.

“It’s hard to say exactly if these are properties that people live in all year, but many in that area are what we would call seasonal or recreational properties.”

As to why the evacuation alert was issued on Monday, Kozakevich said it was because of the fire’s size and possibility “that things can change very quickly.”

Click to play video 'Okanagan wildfire concerns grow with more fire activity' Okanagan wildfire concerns grow with more fire activity
Okanagan wildfire concerns grow with more fire activity – Aug 3, 2020

Kozakevich said “winds were anticipated to pick up a little bit last night, so we wanted to make sure that folks were prepared to leave at a moment’s notice, that they made arrangements for their family, friends, their pets, livestock, and that they have their essential needs ready to go.”

Kozakevich said Princeton Search and Rescue went door-to-door to make sure everybody knows, “because there is some limited cell coverage in that area, and many people camping. So they did go door to door and as well talked to campers.”

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Click to play video 'Wildfire beside Coquihalla called frightening by travelers' Wildfire beside Coquihalla called frightening by travelers
Wildfire beside Coquihalla called frightening by travelers – Aug 3, 2020