July 24, 2015 - 9:00 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - The big news this week was, you guessed it, wildfires.
If you weren’t one of over 70 properties evacuated, or over 138 on alert across the Thompson-Okanagan, you surely noticed smoke clouding the sky, and a 5.8 air quality health index rating in some parts of the region.
Here's a recap of the staggering numbers associated with this week’s wildfires in the Kamloops Fire Centre.
Six wildfires of note: the Bolean Lake wildfire near Falkland, the Bear Creek Fire in West Kelowna, the Coldstream Creek fire near Ashcroft, the Westside Road fire in West Kelowna, the Adams West wildfire north of Adams Lake, and the Willowbrook fire near Oliver. B.C. Wildfire crews also spent considerable time and resources mopping up the Cisco Road fire near Lytton, which burned 2,174 hectares last month and is still considered an active fire of note.
More than 1,204 hectares of land burned this week alone. At their peaks, the Bolean Lake fire was 348 hectares, Coldstream Creek was 250 hectares, Shelter Cove was 460, Adams West was 15, and Willowbrook 130 hectares. The Bear Creek fire in Bear Creek Provincial Park was, by comparison, a measly 1.8 hectares, but still managed to impact a lot of people, and demand a large volume of resources, as you’ll see below.
More than 70 properties evacuated: Four guests and the manager of the Bolean Lake Lodge were forced on evacuation order. A further 70 homes were evacuated due to the Westside Road fire.
More than 138 properties on evacuation alert: Many residents were forced to prepare at a moment’s notice. An evacuation alert was issued to 24 properties in proximity to the Bolean Lake wildfire, 28 properties near the Coldstream Creek fire, and six properties close to the Adams West fire. Properties near the Bear Creek fire were also on alert.
More than 277 firefighters: Resources fluctuated throughout the week, but as of Friday morning, the Bolean Lake fire had 74 dedicated firefighters assigned to it, Coldstream Creek had 68, Shelter Cove 60, Adams West 39, and Willowbrook 36. The Bear Creek fire, which was mostly brought under containment, had a 20-person ground crew assigned as of July 20.
More than 14 helicopters: Helicopter support ranged over the week, but as of Friday, the Bolean Lake wildfire had five helicopters assigned to it, Coldstream Creek two helicopters, Shelter Cove four helicopters, Adams West one helicopter, and the Willowbrook fire had two helicopters. A number of air tankers were also deployed throughout the week.
More than 25 pieces of heavy equipment (bulldozers, pumpers, retardant aircraft, skimmers, helicopter with bucket): As of Friday, the Bolean Lake fire had four pieces of heavy equipment, Coldstream Creek had 12 pieces, Shelter Cove four pieces, Adams West three pieces, and Willowbrook two pieces.
Dozens of smaller fires: You just have to look at this map from B.C. Wildfire to see numerous smaller fires popped up around the Thompson-Okanagan this week as well. Many were caused by lightning earlier in the week.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015