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Penticton  

Troops leaving Similkameen

Colton Davies

The approximately 100 Canadian Armed Forces members in Princeton helping mop up the Cool Creek wildfire are no longer needed at the blaze.

The BC Wildfire Service rescinded its request to have assistance from troops on Thursday, who will now return to their home brigades across Western Canada.

"The work that needs to be done doesn't really warrant that many more resources on it," fire information officer Noelle Kekula said.

Troops set up base camp six days ago at the Princeton Airport. Significant progress has been made on the Cool Creek fire since then, and it was classified as "held" on Tuesday

Kekula said close to 20 millimetres of rain has fallen on the fire since last weekend.

"And (Wednesday) morning when crews got there, there was snow on the ground, and it hailed on them throughout the day yesterday. So precipitation is being received on that fire."

Without military members, there were still 198 personnel working on the fire on Tuesday. 

Most resources are being spent on Cool Creek fire; the 17,670-hectare Snowy Mountain fire now has no personnel assigned to it as crews are in a "patrol and monitor status," Kekula said, with fire activity dwindling.

The 1,130-hectare Old Tom Creek fire has 19 personnel working on it today and Kekula said resources will be taken off of it on Friday. She added it will no longer be considered a fire "of note" then as well. 

"That fire (Cool Creek), we're hoping, near the beginning of next week, to have the same kind of status."

Kekula said there are now just over 200 personnel at the firefighting base camp in Keremeos, compared to nearly 350 personnel who were there eight days ago.

Lt. Tony Wright said at the height of fire operations last month, the Canadian Armed Forces had 420 members assisting with fighting fires in the B.C., 220 of which were land forces doing mop-up work.



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