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Princeton fire relatively calm today

B.C. Wildfire Service reports 140 firefighters are currently battling the Princeton fire, which has been burning since Friday, July 7, 2017.
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July 11, 2017 - 5:23 PM

PRINCETON - The wildfire near Princeton continued to grow overnight, but is behaving itself so far today.

The latest information from B.C. Wildfire Service has the Princeton fire at 2,700 hectares, as of Tuesday afternoon, July 11, up from 2,000 hectares Monday evening.

The fire, which began Friday, July 7, is currently classified as out of control, with zero per cent containment.

B.C. Wildfire Service fire information officer Marg Drysdale says eight helicopters, 140 firefighters, 29 industry personnel and 14 pieces of heavy equipment are working the fire lines today, July 11. The fire is under investigation and is believed to have been human-caused.

Drysdale says the fire is currently moving away from Princeton, with some small growth on the north side. She says it has been difficult to assess the fire’s growth due to poor visibility.

“The incident commander tells me it’s marginally chewing through the area, with some movement in some small spots, but no major push,” Drysdale says.

Winds today are westerly at 15 to 20 kilometres per hour and relatively localized, with increased fire activity anticipated late in the day.

Drysdale says a number of evacuated residents are seeing what they think is diminished fire behaviour and have expressed a desire to go back to their homes, but she says they aren’t seeing the whole picture.

“What they don’t understand, in the heat of the day and where there is standing timber, that subdued fire behaviour may increase to rank four or five behaviour,” she says, adding allowing residents to return at this time would represent a safety risk for both firefighters and residents.

Drysdale says B.C. Wildfire's present camp is too small for the personnel needed to fight the fire and a request has been made for a fire camp complete with showers, laundry, a kitchen and dining tents has been made. She said the location for the larger camp has not yet been selected.

Evacuation alerts have been issued for residences north of Princeton, with 350 properties currently on evacuation order and an additional 257 under evacuation alert.

For the latest on evacuation alerts and orders go to the Regional District website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 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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