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Lightning strikes keep crews hopping dousing wildfires

FILE - B.C. Wildfire crews gained the upper hand on a number of new blazes sparked by lightning in the Kamloops Fire Centre.
August 13, 2015 - 1:00 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Thunderstorms moving through the region ignited several new fires in the Kamloops Fire Centre.

The fire danger rating for the Kamloops Fire Centre is high to extreme, with more lightning in the forecast for today, Aug. 13.

“We did see lightning move through the area, followed by reports of fires yesterday, so we do appreciate the public reporting," fire information officer Melissa Klassen says. "It’s also an indicator of how dry it is."

Sixty-one lightning strikes were recorded throughout the zone yesterday.

Klassen says crews responded to 13 new fires yesterday and one so far today.

The largest most recently sparked fire is burning in the Clearwater zone, three kilometres northeast of Blue Lake, she says. The fire began as a Rank 2 and 3 with some candling reported.

Klassen says access to the fire was a challenge for ground firefighters, resulting in the fire growing quickly to 22 hectares. Air tankers have contained the fire, completely encircling it with a retardant line. Twenty firefighters are working the blaze today along with an initial attack crew, two helicopters and two pieces of heavy equipment.

A second fire near Little Fort has grown to 2.4 ha and is being fought by two initial attack crews. The fire is 100 per cent machine guarded at this time as crews make good progress on the fire, suspected to be the result of a lightning strike.

Another significant fire started in the Merritt fire zone near Mine Creek yesterday afternoon, growing to a hectare, Klassen says. Air tankers responded yesterday and a unit crew and helicopter are being deployed on the fire today.

Klassen says the rest of the fires are in the mop up stage.

“We had a huge success with our initial attack for the small fires yesterday, coupled with aircraft support,” Klassen says, adding none of the fires were allowed to grow out of control and only three grew beyond a half hectare.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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