Nk'Mip Creek wildfire continues to challenge crews | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Nk'Mip Creek wildfire continues to challenge crews

Oliver resident Elizabeth Jago took this photo of the Nk'Mip Creek wildfire, Thursday, July 22, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Elizabeth Jago
July 26, 2021 - 3:01 PM

The Nk’Mip Creek fire near Osoyoos has grown significantly but getting an accurate measurement has been difficult.

Jane Park, incident commander for the wildfire, said the smoke has obscured the view needed to make an accurate assessment and air resources are thinly spread, but ground crews have seen “higher fire behaviour in the evening” and that means there's been spread.

Heavy winds have caused “numerous challenges on the north end near the Shrike subdivision,” Parks said, adding that it's been a multi-night issue that's expected to continue.

“We have had crews there overnight, working to protect structures and work on containment in that area.”

The north and south end of the fire remains a challenge with hot, dry weather and winds encouraging flames.

That said, earlier today there were signs of some improvement.

An evacuation order to the west of Nk'Mip road was reduced to an alert. As of now, 545 properties adjacent to this fire are now on evacuation order, with 23 downgraded to an alert and 159 are now on evacuation alert.

In that area, Parks said crews are hoping to get some infrared scanning, to see if there are any remaining hotspots.

“That would be one area where we're hoping to have the folks from Mexico to help us out,” she said.

“We do obviously have to ensure that the areas that they're going to work in are safe for them to do so.”

So to begin with, B.C. Wildfire will be having them doing things like constructing handguards and looking for hotspots and clearing vegetation around structures.

“As we are able to clear areas for safe work in other areas of the fire, they may assist with burnout operations adjacent to containment lines,” Park said. “We will fully integrate them into our operation, all over the fire wherever we can.”

Through it all, she said, she’s appreciated the difficulty experienced by area residents.

“I recognize that it's an extremely difficult time for everybody, and hopefully they are patient with us in terms of understanding that there’s a shortage of resources,” she said.

“But we are trying our best to respond to this fire and use the resources we have been allocated. I have been advocating for as many things as I can and I hope that we can bring some stability and comfort to the residents here…  we're trying our best to limit the impacts and try to have things returned to normal as soon as they can.”

Weather, however, will ultimately decide when normalcy returns.

“For now, it is a very dynamic situation so we request everybody's patience and allowing us to operate in the areas, and do our jobs.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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