Update: 10:25 a.m., Tuesday, May 7
Last week crews were in the mop-up stage of a fire near Spatsum Creek and just trying to keep the hot spots from jumping control lines, but a breach on Sunday followed by record temperatures Monday have resulted in the rapid growth of the fire – now at 240 hectares – and an expanded attack by crews to get the fire under control.
Information officer Kayla Pepper says 60 fire fighters and three helicopters are currently on scene – up from 25 fire fighters and one helicopter yesterday – and air tankers are on standby to assist if required.
“Our objectives are building control lines, tying them in to some natural rock features,” Pepper says, “rock doesn't burn and they'll be using that to their advantage.”
Crews are also using hand guards to enforce the retardant and help keep the fire from spreading. Winds are expected to pick up in the area this afternoon and as the day gets hotter it is expected the fire will once again become more vigorous.
“We always see more fire activity during the afternoon, with the heat of the day it's a lot more volatile.”
The fire has moved north but remains about 10-kilometres south of Ashcroft. No structures are threatened right now and smoke is blowing away from the main roads and highways and is not impacting visibility in those areas.
Previous estimates of 100 hectares were just speculation, Pepper notes, and when crews put in the GPS coordinates to Google Earth they realized the fire was larger than originally thought at about 140 hectares.
Pepper reminds the public “the fire is person-caused, people have to be extra careful – it's getting hot.”
3:16 a.m., Tuesday, May 7
A grass fire that began Saturday, April 27 about 20 km south of Ashcroft and northwest of Highland Valley Cooper has grown to 240 hectares.
High winds during the fire's infancy helped it grow quickly to about 100 hectares, but firefighters soon said they managed to contain most of the blaze and reported only a few smouldering areas with no open flames.
Air tankers were being used to slow the spread of the fire but on Sunday it grew an additional eight hectares after the fire moved in to a new site hard for fire fighters to access. Fire information officer Michaela Swan said a team of 25 fire fighters and one helicopter were allowing the fire to work within the land features.
Yesterday, the Wildfire Management Branch website showed the fire had since more than doubled in size though no further details were available on the site. Smoke from the fire drifted into Kamloops according to various posts on Twitter and @BCGovFireInfo confirmed the smoke in to Kamloops was from the Spatsum Creek fire. Winds were moderate Monday but high temperatures, low humidity and steep forested terrain all contributed to the rapid growth of the fire.
More to come.
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