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Kamloops area wildfires all human-caused

Retardant is dropped on a fire in 2009, one of the worst fire seasons for the region in recent history.
Image Credit: SOURCE/B.C. Wildfire Management Branch
May 09, 2013 - 1:55 PM

The Kamloops Fire Centre is reporting a total of 37 fires in the region so far this year, and every last one of them has been human-caused.

Information officer Kayla Pepper says 17 fire fighters and a helicopter are assisting the local volunteer fire department at the most recent fire at Deadman Valley, northwest of Savona. This is the second time a fire of note has occurred in the area this spring already. A fire consumed 15 hectares on April 22, just a few hundred metres from the current 75-hectare fire. Pepper says the fire started Wednesday and it was originally thought the fire was only 30 hectares, but after getting a better look today it was realized a lot of fingers and draws are burning as well which added to the total size and also prompted the fire centre to send out additional crews. The size of the fire is still an estimate and has not been confirmed by GPS yet, she says.

At Johnson Lake near Barriere 14 fire fighters are currently working on a 12-hectare fire, which was discovered Tuesday.

The largest fire is still the Spatsum Creek fire, which was first discovered April 27 and estimated at 100-hectares at the time. This weekend the fire jumped a perimeter barrier burning an additional eight hectares. Crews also used GPS data to calculate the size of the fire and found the fire was nearly 40-hectares larger than originally thought.

On Monday high temperatures led to the fire quickly spreading to 240 hectares and sending smoke in to Kamloops in the evening. As of Thursday morning 68 fire fighters were on scene and being assisted by heavy equipment and three helicopters. Airtankers were also ready to support crews as needed. Pepper says crews are in the mop-up stage of some parts of the fire and the hope is to burn off some areas today to secure fire perimeters.

“Most of the activity was within the existing fire area, but it is still fairly smokey,” Pepper notes of the fire, which grew an additional five hectares over the past two days.

On Lac le Jeune Road a 30-hectare fire that originally saw a landowner call in for help to control the blaze when it was at 19 hectares has experienced very minimal fire behaviours and crews are in the mop-up stage. Several firefighters have been moved from that fire to the one near Savona, Pepper says.

All 37 fires have been human-caused, Pepper says, and the compliance and enforcement agency will follow-up with any fines deemed necessary after investigating each of the fires.

In total 386 hectares have been burned due to wildfires in the Kamloops region this year. The ten year average for number of fires by this time of year is 45 fires but in 2003 21 fires had burned only 45 hectares and in 2009 84 fires had burned 788 hectares. 2003 and 2009 are two of the worst fire years in recent history for the region.

"These early spring fires may not necessarily indicate how the rest of fire season will look later on in the summer." Pepper notes. "The amount of precipitation we receive in June is a better indicator of what the fire season will look like.

 

To contact a reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca or call (250)819-3723.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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