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Kamloops  

Fire held, advisories issued

"The East Shuswap Road fire is being held." The BC Wildfire Service issued the update last night stating "further growth is not expected under current conditions and suppression tactics."

The fire broke out Thursday afternoon and quickly grew to more than 545 hectares. 

More than 100 firefighters, heavy machinery, several helicopters, and water bombers dropping fire retardant were use to stop the fire from spreading further and contain the blaze before any structures were destroyed.  

BC Wildfire, Kamloops Fire Rescue and Tk’emlúps First Nation will continue to mop up hotspots. 

Meanwhile, an air quality statement issued for the Kamloops area over the weekend remains in place due to the wildfire. 

"It is possible that smoke will build up in the Kamloops airshed depending on wind direction," Environment Canada stated. 

"During a wildfire, smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour."

On top of the air quality statement, Environment Canada has also issued a  heat warning for the South Thompson.

"Temperatures reaching 35 degrees Celsius are expected. The summertime heat continues over the Southwest Interior. Daytime highs of at least 35 degrees and overnight lows of 18 degrees will occur over the next couple of days."





Mopping up hot spots

Fire crews are mopping up hot spots on the East Shuswap Road wildfire near Kamloops Saturday.

The BC Wildfire Service says firefighters continue to establish control lines and mop up hot spots within 100 metres of the fire's perimeter.

A machine guard has been established on the north side of the large blaze.

Four helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment remain on the fire, along with 89 firefighters.

The cause is still under investigation.


ORIGINAL: 9:40 a.m.

Crews are continuing to battle a blaze near Kamloops from the ground and the air.

As of Friday night, the fire was mapped at just over 500 hectares.

Crews were successful in containing an escape that took place earlier Friday.

Some 36 ground personnel remained on site through the night performing holding action to continue suppression efforts.

As a precaution, an evacuation alert was issued for Sage Meadows to 900 blocks on East Shuswap Road.

No structures have been lost, and no injuries have occurred.

Castanet has contacted BC Wildfire officials about an official update on the situation.



Evacuation alert issued

UPDATE: 8:40 p.m.

An evacuation alert for select residents along East Shuswap Road due to strong winds causing an escape on the south east side of the fire.

"This evacuation alert is not connected to the burning operations that were conducted earlier by the BC Wildfire Service," BC Wildfire said in a tweet. 

"With the winds picking up it clearly seems to be getting worse. Two of the helicopters are still flying around. They haven't used the bombers as of yet," said Resident Paul Stewart. 


UPDATE 8:10 p.m.

BC Wildfire crews continue to tackle a 500 hectare wildfire burning east of Kamloops. 

Response personnel are preparing for increased fire activity as strong winds are forecast through the majority of the evening. 

Crews are working on the west, east and south flanks to increase containment.

The top of the fire on north side is fully machine guarded. 

A total of four helicopters, three heavy equipment machines and 103 ground personnel are on scene.  

Airtankers are on standby and will be deployed if deemed necessary.


UPDATE: 5:30 p.m.

Crews continue to tackle the 500 hectare wildfire burning east of Kamloops

"The burn operation on the East Shuswap Road wildfire is underway, using hand ignition from firefighters on the ground," BC Wildfire said in a tweet.

The public is reminded that smoke and flames may be visible from surrounding areas.


UPDATE: 3:42 p.m.

The BC Wildfire Service continues to keep a watchful eye on the weather as more than 100 firefighters, four helicopters and heavy equipment tackle a roughly 500 hectare grass fire burning east of Kamloops. 

The official status of the fire is "out of control" but BC Wildfire Service states on its website that crews have made good progress ahead of heavy winds expected later this afternoon. 

"Strong winds are forecast for later this afternoon and response personnel are preparing for increased fire activity," was stated.

"Today, crews are working on the west, east and south flanks to increase containment. The top of the fire (north side) is fully machine guarded." 

The response to the fire is garnering praise from local area politicians. Both Kamloops BC Liberal MLAs Todd Stone and Peter Milobar congratulated fire crews on their successful efforts to suppress the fire yesterday.

“With significant wind gusts, the fire spread incredibly fast and very quickly became a major threat,” said Milobar. "Were it not for the quick actions of firefighters, homes may have been lost."

Six homes were evacuated Thursday, and several more were put on an evacuation notice. Those residents have since been allowed to return home. 

"After the devastating wildfires of last year, we need to be sure that we do all we can to mitigate the risks," said Stone. "We need to be aware of our surroundings and our actions so that we do not inadvertently add to tragedy.”

The cause of the fire is still unclear, but it is believed to be human-caused. 

The East Shuswap Road fire was sparked at roughly noon on Thursday and is approximately 500 hectares in size.


UPDATE: 1:28 p.m.

A special weather statement remains in effect for the region.

Environment Canada meteorologist Lisa Erven said wind gusts of up to 70 km/h are expected this evening.

Erven said the wind will start picking up this afternoon with gusts of 30-50 km/h, but around 8 p.m. conditions will get even worse with more powerful winds sweeping the B.C. Interior as a cold front works its way through the region.

And those winds could wreak havoc on the fire burning near Kamloops.

However, Kamloops Fire Centre Fire Information Officer Marla Catherall said crews are aware of the impending wind storm and are preparing for an increase in fire activity.


UPDATE: 12:16 p.m.

Kamloops Fire Centre Fire Information Officer Marla Catherall said a guard has been built between the flames and the Paul Lake area.

“The north side is fully machine guarded,” said Catherall, explaining machines have gone through and removed ground fuels.

“Today crews are working on the west, east and south flanks to increase containment.”

Catherall did not know how much of the fire has been contained, but said crews are making good progress.

Catherall said the area is made up mostly of grass and sage.

“It burns really hot, but it also burns out really quickly too,” she said.

One of the challenges facing fire crews is the winds that whips through the valley.

High winds are expected later today, but Catherall said crews are prepared for an increase in fire activity.

Currently, the fire rating is moderate to low in the Kamloops region, but Catherall said that could change.


UPDATE: 11:26 a.m.

BC Wildfire officials said they have made good progress on the wildfire near Kamloops.

In a tweet, officials said 103 personnel along with heavy equipment and four helicopters are battling the blaze.

Airtankers are also available should they be needed.

Officials are concerned about predicted strong winds this afternoon.

The fire is currently estimated to be 500 ha. Yesterday it was estimated at 380 ha, but more accurate mapping has shown the fire is larger than first thought.


ORIGINAL

Crews continue to battle a wildfire near Kamloops.

Mapped out at 500 hectares, the fire had little growth overnight, but there are concerns high winds this afternoon will fan the flames and the fire could take off.

As of Friday morning, the fire was moving away from nearby homes and heading in a north-east direction toward the Paul Lake area.

Crews continue to battle the blaze from the ground and the air.

Castanet will have an update on the fire as soon as it becomes available.



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Dozens of bikes stolen

Close to $100,000 worth of bicycles have been stolen in Kamloops in just over a month this year.

RCMP Cpl. Jodie Shelkie said between June 1 and July 9, police responded to 51 theft of bicycle files involving the theft of 64 bikes.

The approximate value of the stolen bikes is $95,000.

People are reminded to lock their bikes up, but even that might not be enough to stop a determined thief as Shelkie said 51 per cent of the stolen bikes were locked.

Of the other bikes stolen, 35 per cent were unlocked and 14 per cent were unknown.

“The bikes reported stolen range from children’s bikes - ranging in price from $100 to $300 - to high-end specialized bikes, ranging from $2,000 to $8,500,” said Shelkie. “The majority of bikes were taken from residences, with 61 per cent stolen from a garage or a backyard. Bikes left outside of businesses accounted for 22 per cent and 14 per cent were removed from vehicles. The majority of these vehicles were parked at hotels.”

Shelkie recommends travellers either bring their bikes into their hotel rooms or, if possible, in the hotel's secure storage area.

“Always bring your bike inside your house or locked garage at night,” added Shelkie.

A quality lock is also recommended when leaving a bike outdoors. While it may not stop all thieves, a high-end lock could deter someone looking for a quick steal.

“Don’t forget to lock your wheels and your saddle. Quick releases and hex bolts make it easy for thieves to take these components. Most parts on a bike can be removed with a screwdriver or Allen wrench. A good way to protect the wheels and seat post is to replace regular screws and bolts for locking skewers – rods with complicated bolts-heads that require a special key to remove,” said Shelkie. “To help deter theft and aid in its return if stolen, register your bike on the 529 Garage app. Always write down the serial number of your bike and keep a photo of it on file.”



Another wildfire burning

BC Wildfire Service is responding to a new wildfire by Stump Lake off Highway 5A in Kamloops, currently estimated at one hectare in size.

Crews are on site. The fire is burning between the lake and the road, providing a natural fire guard and aiding the crews in their progress so far.

To report a wildfire to call1-800-663-5555 toll-free.



Stabbed at park

A Thursday afternoon stabbing at Pioneer Park in Kamloops is related to the drug trade, according to RCMP.

Police say two men had been attacked at the park. One man, who suffered serious non-life threatening injuries in the attack, was taken to the hospital. The other male victim was later found with only minor injuries. 

Police are still looking for the suspects. 

"The suspects have not been located but police do not believe there is any risk to the general public as this was a targeted attack," stated Cpl Jodi Shelkie.
 
The investigation continues and police are asking anyone who saw the altercation to contact Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.



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.

#Kamloops


Kamloops fire in photos

Six homes were evacuated Thursday afternoon, but as of 7 p.m. Thursday, fire information officer Marla Catherall said they were making progress on getting the blaze under control, and the evacuations were rescinded.

Check out the photos above by Kamloops resident Paul Stewart of fire crews fighting the wildfire. 



Mountie bear sprayed

A Kamloops Mountie was bear sprayed during a brief foot chase Thursday morning. 

It happened around 9 a.m. 

Police say the officer recognized the male suspect as someone wanted for breach of probation. 

When the officer approached the man to make the arrest, the suspect took off running.  

During the chase, the man turned and bear sprayed the officer. 

The officer kept pursuit and was eventually able to catch the fleeing suspect. 

"At this point the officer dispersed his own oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray on the suspect and subdued him," stated Cpl. Jodie Shelkie. "Other police officers soon attended the area and took the male into custody."

The area near the incident, 200 block of Tranquille Road, was closed while BC Ambulance gave medical attention to both the officer and the suspect.  

The 26-year-old suspect is from Kamloops and was previously known to police. 

All information will be forwarded to the BC Prosecution Service who will determine any charges in addition to the breach of probation charge.



BC's first gov't pot shop

With legalization of cannabis less than 10 weeks away, the B.C. government has found its first location for a government-run retail store.

The first store will be located in Kamloops, at Columbia Place Shopping Centre in the Sahali area.

The Liquor Distribution Branch will operate the 3,000-square-metre store. The LDB still needs to apply for municipal approval, when the city begins accepting applications in September, and legalization is expected to occur on Oct. 17.

“Kamloops city council supports the work of the provincial government as they map out the future retail cannabis landscape in B.C.,” said Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian.

About 20 employees will be needed to staff the store. Postings for these jobs are expected to be posted here within the next week.

The province says the choice of the Kamloops location was based in part on the city's “readiness for the zoning of cannabis retail operations.”

In B.C., the LDB will be the sole wholesale distributor of cannabis, while retail sales will be offered through private and government-run stores. 



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