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UPDATE: Kamloops Lake fire nearly contained

A fire north of Kamloops Lake is now 95 per cent contained, though some smoke is still visible from the centre of the fire.
July 28, 2013 - 4:30 PM

UPDATE: 12:55 p.m., July 29, 2013

KAMLOOPS - A wildfire on the north side of Kamloops Lake this weekend is now 95 per cent contained.

There was a lot of smoke is still rising from the centre of the fire and a lot of hot spots around the perimeter as of this morning but thanks to minimal fire behaviour yesterday and through the night the 65.5 hectare fire is nearly fully contained.

A total of 48 B.C. Wildfire personnel were on site yesterday and 12 remained on site overnight. As mop-up activities continue today 36 firefighters will remain on scene.

UPDATE: 4:30 p.m. July 28, 2013

It’s tough going for the wildfire management crews fighting the Kamloops Lake forest fire.

Steep terrain is making it tough for the 43 fire fighters to contain the 65-hectare blaze on the north side of Kamloops Lake. Especially since they don’t have access to heavy equipment as they work to build a hand guard around the perimeter of the fire.

After a day of hot, smoky and sweaty manual labour with shovels and other hand tools, the crews have managed to get the fire 70% contained.

“The terrain is steep. There are gullies out there with slopes that are almost cliffs. They are that steep,” fire information officer Melissa Welsh says. “Crews have been able to use some natural fire barriers.”

Welsh says there’s a rock face on the south side of the fire, and there is a gravel road on the north side. So most of the work for the crews is building the fireguard on the east and west sides of the blaze.

Along with the hand guard, crews are also laying hose around the fire. It’s called hose lay.

“Hose lay is essentially crews establishing… a water line around the fire giving access to water,” Welsh says. “They can screw off certain portions of the hose and attach apparatus to that hose.”

With ready access to water they can keep the fireguard wet to stop the flames from spreading.

Two water tenders were on the scene today to make sure they had enough water.

As well, 3 helicopters were working the blaze. Two were bucketing water from Kamloops Lake, while the 3rd was flying over the fire doing reconnaissance.

The fire behavior today was considered rank 1. That means it’s a smoldering ground fire giving off lots of smoke, despite the 20 km/h wind out of the west.

“There was some rank 2 activity, open flames, in some of the gullies today,” according to Welsh.

Still no word on what sparked the forest fire.

To contact the reporter for this story, email halexander@infotelnews.ca or call (250) 491-0331.

The Kamloops Lake forest fire is burning in steep terrain. No structures are threatened.
The Kamloops Lake forest fire is burning in steep terrain. No structures are threatened.
Image Credit: SOURCE/Jamie Rye - Twitter

 

10:10 a.m. July 28, 2013

It’s a good news, bad news situation for the fire fighters battling the Kamloops Lake wildfire.

The 65-hectare blaze, on the north side of Kamloops Lake about 2 km from the shore, didn’t grow overnight.

That’s the good news.

The bad news? The smoldering ground fire is going to spring into action today as the temperature rises and the wind picks up.

“We’re thinking we’re going to have 20 km/h winds out there today,” fire information officer Melissa Welsh says. The area is extremely dry so any wind will spread the fire quickly.

The fire is extremely smoky and with the brisk westerly wind, the smoke is blowing toward the City of Kamloops.

Welsh says the fire is about 60% contained. There are 45 wildlife management personnel on the ground. They will continue working to build a hand guard around the perimeter.

Three helicopters will be helping with the effort by dumping buckets of water from Kamloops Lake on the flames.

The forest fire is still about 8 km away from homes in the area. That’s far enough away that the structures aren’t threatened by the blaze.

No word yet on what sparked the wildfire.

The smoke from the Kamloops Lake brush fire burning north of lake across from the Tobiano Golf Course.
The smoke from the Kamloops Lake brush fire burning north of lake across from the Tobiano Golf Course.
Image Credit: Graham Cope/Twitter

 

3:45 a.m. July 27, 2013

Steady wind has fanned the flames and the wildfire burning north of Kamloops Lake has grown from 20-hectares to 65-hectares today.

The fire is burning in dry grass and sagebrush, and has now moved into trees.

“It’s an aggressive fire. Trees are candling and there is open flame,” fire information officer Michaela Swan says.

There are 40 forest service personnel on the ground fighting the fire, along with 3 helicopters and air tankers from the base in Kamloops.

“The air tankers laid a retardant guard this morning and then we actually brought them back because the fire burned through some of the retardant.”

Swan says the tankers laid down additional retardant to stop the fire’s spread. The blaze is moving in an easterly direction.

“We’re using some of the natural fire guards in the area to allow it to go up to Fredrick Road.”

The area is pretty remote. There are some homes along the edge of Kamloops Lake, but they’re about 8-km away from the blaze.

Swan says it’s still a very active fire and it’s not contained yet. They are concerned about wind.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Crews will remain on the scene overnight and the fight to contain the fire will resume in the morning.

Retardant is dropped on a fire in 2009. Two of these aircraft worked the Kamloops Lake fire on Saturday, laying a retardant guard.
Retardant is dropped on a fire in 2009. Two of these aircraft worked the Kamloops Lake fire on Saturday, laying a retardant guard.
Image Credit: SOURCE/B.C. Wildfire Management Branch

 

10:12 a.m. July 27, 2013

KAMLOOPS - It’s the worst-case scenario for wildfire crews. A strong wind is fanning the flames burning extremely dry grass and sagebrush west of Kamloops.

About 40 Wildfire Management fire fighters are on the ground trying to get a handle on the 20-hectare fire burning on the north side of Kamloops Lake.

“The smoke is very visible from the Tobiano Golf Course across the lake,” fire information officer Melissa Welsh says. The smell of smoke is making its way into the City of Kamloops east of the blaze.

The first call about the fire came in around 12:30 a.m.

Welsh says the crews on the ground are being assisted by two helicopters which are using buckets to drop water from Kamloops Lake on the fire.

As well, a tanker group is working the blaze. A tanker group consists of two aircraft dropping fire retardant and a small plane acting as a bird dog to tell the tanker crews where to drop their loads.

“The fire is burning quite aggressively,” Welsh says. “Mainly because we’ve had such a long period of hot, dry weather. The fuels that it’s burning are sagebrush and grass. So it’s burning very fast. At the same time the fuel type won’t sustain the fire for very long so that’s a plus.”

It’s also being pushed by 20 to 30 km/h winds today.

There are structures in the area, “But they aren’t immediately threatened at this time,” according to Welsh.

She says the goal is to get a hand guard built around the blaze, and with the help of the helicopters and air tankers, get the fire under control.

To contact the reporter for this story, email halexander@infotelnews.ca or call (250) 491-0331.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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