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'Fires of note' mapped

UPDATED: 6:21 p.m.

For the first time in several days, the BC Wildfire Service has been able to accurately map the "fires of note" in the North Okanagan.

At 332 hectares, the largest of the fires burning in the Monashee Complex is the Sugar Mountain fire, 4 km east of Sugar Lake. 

"Currently, the Sugar Mountain wildfire is showing increased fire behaviour due to ongoing high temperatures and low relative humidity. Resources are being reassigned to priority areas to minimize fire spread. Smoke is very visible from this wildfire.

Resources 

  • 8 helicopters 
  • 5 heavy equipment  

The next biggest is the  252-hectare Mabel Creek fire, 6.5 km east of Mabel Lake.

"This fire is located in an area where there are heavy fuels and closed canopies that can be challenging if there are flare-ups. Steep terrain is also an issue and has limited some suppression operations in these areas."

Resources 

  • 14 firefighters 
  • 8 helicopters 
  • 7 heavy equipment 

The Harris Creek fire has now been mapped at 211 hectares. 

"Currently, the Harris Creek FSR wildfire is showing extreme fire behaviour due to ongoing high temperatures and low relative humidity. Resources are being reassigned to priority areas to minimize fire spread. Crews continue to build a wide containment line around this wildfire and it is approximately 75 percent complete."

Resources 

  • 31 firefighters 
  • 8 helicopters 
  • 8 heavy equipment 

Proctor Road is "being held at 25.2 hectares. 

"The crews have made excellent progress in the suppression of this wildfire and will continue to work to increase containment."

Resources 

  •  13 firefighters 

*Outside of the Monashee Complex, but still a wildfire of note in the North Okanagan, for the time being, is the 114-hecatre Monte Creek fire, 7 km south of Monte Lake.

"The Monte Lake fire is no longer considered a fire of note. This is the final update and it will be taken off on the website tomorrow at 8:30 a.m."

Resources 

  • 16 personnel
  • 2 water tenders

Evacuation orders have also been issued for areas around the Sugar Mountian fire and Mabel Creek fire, not due to increased risk of wildfires but for the safety of crews battling the fires. 

Sugar Creek, Cottonwood Beach, Cascade Falls, and Cascade Beach and Napasis Creek Recreation Sites. Mabel Lake Forest Service Road km 8 to km 59 and the entire Kate Creek Forest Service Roads will be closed to the recreational public immediately until further notice.

The closure will not apply to the residents in the Mabel Lake Holdings community, nor other private residences along the Mabel Lake FSR.

For more information on these closures please visit BC Wildfire's website and social media.


UPDATED: 4:50 p.m.

BC Wildfire Service crews have one eye on the ground and another on the sky as a shift in the weather could affect the fires in the Monashee Complex for better or worse. 

The Environment Canada forecast is calling for cooler temperatures starting Friday evening into Saturday, with a chance of showers both Saturday and Sunday. However, the forecast is also calling for increased wind and thunderstorms.

"The changing weather could be a concern with respect to an increase in the fire behaviour and safety of crews," says fire information officer Rosalie MacAulay. 

Several fires have grown over the past few days, but MacAulay says at this time no structures are threatened.  

Fires of Note Updates: *BC Wildfire Service does not currently have accurate estimates on the size of the fires of note, but it is expected to provide those updates at some point on Friday.

Harris Creek Fire:

This wildfire is classified as out of control, however, crews continue to build a wide containment line around this wildfire and it is approximately 75 per cent complete. Establishing this containment line could help if winds pick up and fan the fire.

There are 31 firefighters and eight pieces of heavy equipment from Tolko Industries working on the suppression of this wildfire. There are also eight helicopters available for support as needed. 

Mabel Creek Fire:

This afternoon, the Mabel Creek wildfire was showing extreme fire behaviour due to ongoing high temperatures and low relative humidity. Resources are being reassigned to priority areas to minimize fire spread. Smoke is very visible from this wildfire. 

There are 16 firefighters, two danger tree assessors/fallers, and seven pieces heavy equipment from Tolko working on the suppression of this wildfire. There are eight helicopters available for support as needed.

Sugar Mountain Fire:

Crews have made progress and now have approximately 60 per cent of the guard complete on the east flank along the south flank and up the west flank.
The equipment task force team will continue with machine guard construction.

With the incoming change to the weather, it is expected fire behaviour will be very high with gusty winds and steep slopes. Fuels are very dry and fires have been picking up with a little wind pushing them. The area has been smoky the past few days and this has kept things a few degrees cooler and suppressed the potential for convective activity. 

Proctor Road Fire:

The crews have made excellent progress in the suppression of this wildfire and will continue to work to increase containment. They have a machine guard on the north end of the perimeter on flat ground, and they also have a fuel-free around the entire perimeter of the Proctor Road wildfire. 

Monte Lake Fire:

This wildfire is now considered "Being Held" which means we are not expecting it to grow outside of its current perimeter.

There are 16 personnel on site today with 2 water tenders. Air support is available as needed.


ORIGINAL: 10:01 a.m.

The BC Wildfire Service is shuffling its resources to priority areas within the Monashee Complex due to an increase in extreme fire behaviour — specifically, the Harris Creek fire (260 ha.)

"The fire has breached the established guard on the western flank and is spreading west towards McAuley Creek Road," stated the BCWS in an update on its Facebook page. Thursday, it was reported that crews had been able to build a fire guard around roughly 75 per cent of the Harris Creek fire. 

Thirty-one firefighters, eight pieces of heavy machinery along with industry and air support are actioning the fire, but face challenges.

"With the drying trend and higher temperature, there is increased fire behaviour," stated BCWS. "This fire is where there are heavy fuels and closed canopies that can be challenging if there are flare-ups. Steep terrain is also an issue."

BCWS said its goal for today will be to increase the containment line around the fire.

"Establishing this containment line will provide an option to burn to the guard if deemed necessary and also limits the spread of fire including; west into a slide area and south into the Greystokes Protected Area (park). Crews are currently working in the south burning out fuels to increase the size of the containment line."

Evacuation orders have also been issued for areas around the Sugar Mountian fire and Mabel Creek fire. 

"Due to the risk to the public at this time, Recreation Sites and Trails BC is asking the public to evacuate Sugar Creek, Cottonwood Beach, Cascade Falls, and Cascade Beach and Napasis Creek Recreation Sites. Mabel Lake Forest Service Road km 8 to km 59 and the entire Kate Creek Forest Service Roads will be closed to the recreational public immediately until further notice. The closure will not apply to the residents in the Mabel Lake Holdings community, nor other private residences along the Mabel Lake FSR. These closures are not due to fire threat but for road safety for our crews and industry partners travelling to and from the fires. For more information on these closures please visit BC Wildfire's website and social media."

Several other fires in the Monashee Complex have exceeded initial attack target capabilities, leaving the BCWS to assess values that might be threatened by the fires and determine resources. 

  • K41899 and K42092, located south of the Three Valley Gap Resort about 14 kilometres southwest of Revelstoke, have grown significantly and smoke will be very visible from these fires.
  • K42099 located at the north end of Mabel Lake about 45 kilometres northeast of Salmon Arm has also grown significantly and smoke is very visible.
  • K42097 and K42067 about 48 kilometres southeast of Salmon Arm have grown significantly and they are located in the vicinity of K41813. Smoke will be very visible from these fires.


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