Nohomin Creek wildfire's behaviour has increased Thursday

Fire growing, heavy smoke

UPDATE: 2:40 p.m.

Hot temperatures and low humidity have led to an increase in fire behaviour at the Nohomin Creek wildfire Thursday.

Fire Information Officer Karley Desrosiers says the fire is growing in the northern part of the western flank of the fire, and it's exhibiting Rank 4 behaviour in some areas.

“There is some upslope growth on the fire, it isn't rapidly spreading by any means,” Desrosiers said.

“Due to the heat and the conditions, it is continuing to grow upslope and it's becoming more visible as fire behaviour has increased. It is producing more smoke.”

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs posted photos to Twitter, showing the massive plume of smoke coming from the fire Thursday afternoon.

Desrosiers says it's currently not spreading further into the Stein Valley, but climbing up the mountain instead.

“It is calming a bit at the top where the slope isn't as steep, and we do have helicopters bucketing ... it is quite rocky up there,” she said.

“Upslope growth is not unusual, especially in this heat and humidity.”

The homes that were evacuated when the fire first broke out are on the southern and eastern flank of the fire, and Desrosiers says they haven't seen any increase in fire behaviour there.

The hot temperatures in the Lytton area, and across much of Southern B.C., are forecast to continue through the long weekend.

ORIGINAL: 10:10 a.m.

The largest wildfire burning in the province saw some increased fire behaviour Wednesday, and higher temperatures and low humidity Thursday could see that trend continue.

The Nohomin Creek wildfire has been burning northwest of Lytton since July 14, while fire behaviour has slowed somewhat over the past week. But the BC Wildfire Service says conditions may become unfavourable Thursday.

“Today, July 28, temperatures are forecast to reach 41 degrees, with low humidity,” the BCWS says.

“There’s a low risk of a dry-lightning event and associated winds in the vicinity of the fire. This could increase fire activity as of mid-day, particularly on south-facing slopes.”

The latest mapping of the large fire has increased its size estimate to 2,476 hectares, with the growth coming on the western flank of the fire in the Stein Valley.

“In this area, crews are working to establish wet lines and fuel-free areas. Crews are also patrolling the Stryen Creek area and are working to extinguish the remaining hot spots,” the BCWS says.

“In recent days, the Structure Protection branch has installed 1,150 feet of hose and sprinkler systems, west, along the Stein Valley walking path. The purpose of this water delivery system is to increase fuel moisture content and relative humidity in valley bottoms, to protect park infrastructure and cultural values.”

Evacuation orders remain in place Nohomeen IR 13, Papyum IRs 27, 27A, Lytton IR 27B, Papyum Graveyard 27C and Stryen IR 9.

Wednesday, the BC Wildfire Service posted drone footage of 616 metres of a fuel-free containment line that's been constructed on the northwest flank of the fire.

“Over the course of approximately three days, crews used hand tools to dig down to the mineral soil and create a break in fuel continuity on the forest floor. A fuel free containment line is a strategically planned barrier that is manually or mechanically constructed,” the BCWS said.

“It is intended to stop or slow the rate of spread of a fire, and from which suppression action is carried out to control a fire.”

There remains 106 firefighters working on the fire, along with 10 helicopters and three pieces of heavy equipment.

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