Wildfire in mop-up stage

UPDATE: 11:55 a.m.

Residents in a Kamloops neighbourhood were forced to flee Thursday evening as a grass fire burned within metres of 12 homes.

A tactical evacuation of the homes in the Batchelor Heights area was ordered as the flames broke out around 6 p.m. and raced from the top of a ridge toward the houses.

B.C. Wildfire Service spokesman Kevin Skrepnek says more than 40 wildfire service and Kamloops firefighters were assigned to the blaze, backed by a number of air tankers dropping retardant.

About 60 hectares of grassland was scorched before the fire was contained late Thursday and evacuees were allowed to return.

A cause is under investigation, but the wildfire service says lightning may have played a part as a series of thunderstorms swept across B.C. Wednesday and Thursday, sparking hundreds of small fires.

Severe thunderstorm watches remain in effect for the south Thompson region, which includes Kamloops, and similar warnings are also posted for the Peace River region and entire southeastern corner of the province, with the potential for lightning and heavy rain.

– The Canadian Press

UPDATE: 9:30 a.m. 

The Batchelor Heights fire is under control and is in the mop-up stage according to the City of Kamloops Facebook page. 

Crews will remain on scene this morning and will continue mop-up efforts. 

UPDATE 9:50 p.m.

BC Wildfire is responding with 20 personnel and three air tankers.

"We are assisting the Kamloops Fire Rescue as this fire is within the jurisdiction of the local fire department. There will be crews working overnight,'' Bc Wildfire said. 

Contact the City of Kamloops emergency line with any questions regarding evacuations at 250-372-1710.

UPDATE: 8:15 p.m.

The Kamloops wildfire is now an estimated at 60 hectares in size. 

"All evacuated residents may return home. The fire is not currently threatening any homes.

"Crews from Kamloops Fire Rescue and BC Wildfire Service are making great progress and will continue to work the fire through the night," the City of Kamloops Facebook page wrote. 

ORIGINAL: 7:40 p.m.

BC Wildfire crews are assisting in a highly visible wildfire in the Batchelor Heights area of Kamloops.

Ground personnel and air support have been deployed.

Several videos and photos show the entire area of Batchelor Heights covered in smoke. 

Carr Nyul posted to Twitter saying "Fire in Bachelor Heights in Kamloops. Wind blowing like crazy ... it's starting to rain now, so hopefully that helps."

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