ASHCROFT - Crews are currently on scene of a wildfire that quickly grew to 20 hectares in Venables Valley along Highway 1.
Kayla Pepper of B.C. Wildfire says it started this morning and is burning in grass and sage on the west side of Highway 1 southwest of Ashcroft. Early on the fire was more aggressive with candling but fire activity has died down.
The highway was intermittently closed while air tankers actioned the blaze but they have since completed laying down retardant. A total of 31 firefighters and one helicopter remain on scene.
“We were able to catch it and it hasn’t grown in the past couple of hours,” Pepper says, adding no structures are immediately threatened.
Wind is expected to pick up this afternoon though and combined with low humidity and high temperatures, Pepper says we are not out of the woods yet.
“If anyone is outside, the back country or the front country, be extra careful,” she says, adding, “We are seeing holdover lightning.”
The entire province is currently under a campfire ban, something Pepper says she can’t recall ever happening before.
“It usually doesn’t happen province-wide. It’s a sign of conditions right now,” she says, noting the fire danger rating is high to extreme in most of the Kamloops Fire Centre. “It’s important people are being very careful.”
In addition to the Venables Valley fire crews responded to a small fire near Lytton this morning that is now in mop-up and crews are heading to several fires recently reported in the Salmon Arm and Vernon Fire Zones.
Crews are also still actively working on the Huckleberry fire in the Joe Rich area of Kelowna, which quickly forced evacuations of more than 140 properties and put another 150 on alert.
B.C. Wildfire is also keeping an eye on a lightning-caused fire in the Snowy Creek Protected Area near the U.S. border that popped up this week.
Pepper says they are focussing on prevention and detection right now and asks if anyone sees any smoke or flame to call it in as soon as possible.
“Even if you accidentally caused it, it’s much better to call.”
To report smoke, flames or an unattended campfire, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or dial *5555 on a cellphone.
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