Gaining ground on aggressive Lytton fire

Lots of smoke from the nearly 1,400 hectare fire north of Lytton
Image Credit: Contributed

KAMLOOPS - Crews were successful in gaining ground on the Botanie Creek fire Monday and now believe the nearly 1,400 hectare fire is 15 per cent contained.

“The objectives for today are for ground crews and equipment to continue to reinforce fire guards,” Fire Information Officer Melissa Klassen says.

Klassen says no further structures have been lost since the loss of a house and several other structures over the weekend.

She warns there is still heavy smoke in the area and the steep terrain, along with dry conditions and high winds could result in more aggressive fire behaviour later this afternoon.

The fire, which has resulted in the evacuation of about 150 people along Botanie Creek Road, is considered a high priority fire and will see a type one incident command team take control of the fire scene.

Klassen explains a type one team consists of the highest certifications and highest skilled people that specialize in different aspects of fire control.

“It’s a specialized team that has come in to implement a fire camp and deal specifically with the incident,” she notes. “(It will) free up other resources…. It’s easier to have a team responsible for one incident.”

In total 115 firefighters, seven helicopters and 12 pieces of heavy equipment continue to work at containing the fire.

Weather over the next couple of days could aid crews if the forecasted rain does fall. Environment Canada is calling for a 40 per cent chance of showers today and rain both Wednesday and Thursday. In total 10-15 millimetres of rain is expected on Wednesday alone along with a chance of thunderstorms later in the day. Strong winds gusting up to 60 kilometres per hour are also expected over the next two days.

A public meeting will be held at the Lytton Parish Hall, which is acting as the Emergency Support Services centre Tuesday, July 22 at 2 p.m. It is the third public meeting held since the start of the fire.

The Lytton ferry remains open but to local traffic only.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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