103 crew fighting fire

UPDATE: 2 p.m.

BC Wildfire Service crews are bracing for anticipated high winds this afternoon, forecast to gust up to 70 km/h.

There are currently 103 personnel working the blaze, four helicopters, air tankers as available and heavy equipment. 

UPDATE: 9:46 a.m.

The wildfire raging east of Kamloops now sits at 500 hectares.

But, BC Wildfire officials said that has more to do with accurate mapping than fire growth.

Yesterday, the fire was mapped at 380 hectares, and while there was some growth overnight, officials said the jump in size was due to mapping a more accurate size of the fire.

Fire officials will have more information on the fire later this morning.

UPDATE: 7:15 a.m.

The grass fire near Kamloops continues to burn but has been steered away from six homes east of the city.

The suspected human-caused fire broke out around noon yesterday and quickly covered almost four square kilometres -- forcing evacuation of the half-dozen homes, but a rapid response from the wildfire service headed off that threat.

Evacuation orders were dropped late yesterday but crews remained at the scene overnight dealing with hot spots as the blaze burned away from populated areas.

Firefighters will concentrate on the north flank of the blaze today in an effort to corral it before it creeps in the general direction of Paul Lake, and they hope to contain it before forecast strong winds arrive this afternoon.

UPDATE: 7 a.m.

The grass fire burning on a First Nation reserve in Kamloops, B.C., has grown to 3.8 square kilometres.

The B.C. Wildfire Service says the blaze on the Tk'emlups reserve is not threatening any homes.

Six homes were evacuated as a precaution on Thursday afternoon but the evacuations were rescinded by evening.

Kamloops Fire and Rescue says the fire quickly exploded in size from about five hectares at noon.

An emergency reception centre has been set up the Secwepemc School.

Fire Information Officer Jody Lucius says 49 crew members, air tankers and one helicopter are fighting the flames.

"The winds in the area are definitely pushing smoke into the Kamloops area, and so that fire is highly visible from the city as well as Highway 1, and we may actually see some significant amounts of smoke coming in to the community," Lucius says.

Kamloops Assistant Fire Chief Steve Robinson says the reserve is not under an evacuation alert.

Tk'emlups te Secwepemc Councillor Nacoma George says Shuswap Road has been reopened.

UPDATE: 10 p.m.

Fire activity has died down into the evening at the 380-hectare wildfire burning near Kamloops Thursday.

The wildfire continues to burn on Tk’emlups te Secwepemc (Kamloops Indian Band) land and fire crews fighting the fire into the evening are working on the northern flank of the blaze. The fire is predominantly pushing upslope in the north direction, away from houses.

Six nearby homes were evacuated earlier Thursday, but all evacuees returned later in the afternoon.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but initial reports by the BC Wildfire Service said it was suspected to be human caused.

“Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc would like to say kukwstsétsemc (thank you) to everyone with the Kamloops Fire Rescue, and BC Wildfire Service for their help, it is greatly appreciated,” said Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc councillor Nacoma George in a statement Thursday night.

Strong winds, gusting up to 70 km/h, are forecast for the area Friday.

UPDATE: 7:05 p.m.

The fire east of Kamloops' Shuswap Road on Tk’emlúps Reserve land has almost doubled in size since the BC Wildfire Service's last estimate, to an estimated 380 hectares. 

While the blaze has seen rapid growth since it was first discovered at about noon Thursday due to strong winds, fire information officer Marla Catherall says they've made significant progress this evening. 

"We've made great progress today ... just seeing it from this afternoon to now is a big difference," Catherall said.

"The fire is going upslope which is great because it is going away from structures."

The fire's large plume of smoke is visible throughout Kamloops and a man flying over the area earlier in the day said the smoke could be seen from as far away as Revelstoke. 

Air support continues to work on the blaze as the day's light remains, and 28 firefighters will work to contain the blaze through the evening. 

Strong winds are forecast across the Interior Friday, with gusts expected to reach up to 70 km/h in the South Thompson area by Friday evening. Temperatures are expected to hit a high of 32 degrees Friday. 

"Hopefully with the winds, they're not as strong as expected, but we'll be prepared for anything," Catherall said. 

UPDATE: 4:45 p.m.

Windy conditions have pushed a wildfire near Shuswap Road to 200 hectares.

BC Wildfire Service said all available resources are responding to the burning wildfire and six homes have been evacuated.

“Please note that water skimming aircraft are using Paul Lake, so all recreational boaters are asked to stay clear,” says BC Wildfire Service.

UPDATE: 4:10 p.m.

Six homes have been evacuated on Shuswap Road just east of Kamloops due to a wildfire burning nearby, according to city staff.

The fire is burning on Tk’emlúps Reserve land, and a reception centre is set up at the Sk’elep School of Excellence.

Shuswap Road is reportedly blocked off for a stretch of about 18 kilometres, from Lafarge Road to Highway 5.

The last estimate of the fire's size was 60 hectares from the BC Wildfire Service.

Kamloops city staff said 50 BCWS are battling the blaze with more en route.

UPDATE: 2:35 p.m.

A wildfire near Shuswap Road just east of Kamloops is now being pegged at 60 hectares, the BC Wildfire Service said on Twitter.

The fire, which sparked up just after noon, was last estimated to be 20 hectares in size about an hour ago.

"Air support continues to work on the fire, with ground crews focused on securing the fire perimeter near structures," the BCWS said online.

Forty-nine firefighters, one air tanker and one helicopter are on scene.

There have been no reports of structures impacted by the blaze. It's not yet clear how the fire was caused. 

UPDATE: 1:40 p.m.

A grass fire burning in Kamloops is estimated to be roughly 20 hectares in size. 

BC Wildfire Service has responded to the fire with 49 firefighters, air tankers and one helicopter. 

There has been no word on what sparked the fire, however, fire investigators are on the scene. 

At this time no structures are in immediate danger.

Twitter user @Katakazim posted a video of air support using retardant on the fire.


UPDATE: 1:20 p.m.

Air support has been brought in to help fight a grass fire in Kamloops.

Twitter users @AlanForseth posted video of a water bomber dropping retardant on the flames. 

#Kamloops East Shuswap Rd fire appears to have slowed greatly in moving downhill toward ho. Still moving West but slowing pic.twitter.com/spjwh2SCWn

Kamloops Fire Rescue and BC Wildfire Service crews are on the scene.

RCMP have closed off a section of Shuswap Road from Lafarge west to the Yellowhead Highway.

UPDATE: 1:00 p.m.

Thick smoke can been seen billowing from a grass fire near Shuswap Road in Kamloops. 

A short video taken by Twitter user @Katakazim shows the menacing white cloud drifting west towards Yellowhead Highway.


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