Securing perimeters main tactic today for crews battling blazes around Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Securing perimeters main tactic today for crews battling blazes around Kamloops

The Tremont Creek wildfire is seen in this aerial photo provided by the B.C. Wildfire Service, July 12, 2021.
Image Credit: B.C. Wildfire Service
July 16, 2021 - 11:14 AM

The large wildfires burning in Kamloops area have grown, most significantly the Tremont Creek wildfire near Ashcroft.

No new evacuation orders have been given since 50 properties were told to leave on July 14, but 675 Thompson Nicola Regional District properties are now on alert, not including alerts already in place at the villages of Ashcroft and Cache Creek.

As of yesterday, July 15, the Tremont Creek wildfire has grown to roughly 2,120 hectares after a combination of strong winds and hot and dry conditions forced firefighters to pull heavy equipment away out of safety concerns, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.

There are currently 22 firefighters, with five helicopters and seven heavy equipment units on the scene. Ashcroft Fire Department firefighters remained on the scene overnight with 20 wildfire service personnel.

The Tremont Creek wildfire is part of the Lytton Complex, meaning the wildfire service is distributing their resources where necessary to wildfires localized in that area.

As the wildfire service battles multiple wildfires of note, and many smaller fires within the region, the Thompson Nicola Regional District is calling on the provincial government to declare a state of emergency, which will allocate additional resources to bring wildfires under control.

There are currently 305 active wildfires in the province with 108 of those in the Kamloops Fire Centre alone, according to the wildfire service.

The largest of those fires is the Sparks Lake wildfire, which has not seen significant growth in the last 72 hours, but as some smoke cleared up, the wildfire service was able to more accurately map the blaze to its current estimated size.

It now covers roughly 45,166 hectares, and as potential storm clouds roll over the area today, July 16, the wildfire service is expecting increasing southwest wind gusts in the afternoon. For a fire of this size, crews are mainly focused on building containment lines to stop the wildfire's spread. Heavy equipment units are in the Red Lake area building fire guards in an effort to prevent further southeast movement.

If conditions allow for it, there will be a planned ignition today, and potentially another tomorrow to burn out fuel before the out of control wildfire reaches that point on the southeastern perimeters.

As many as 133 firefighters are on the scene today, with 11 helicopters and 50 heavy equipment units.

To the east, the Embleton Mountain wildfire has reached 580 hectares and is expected to continue as it creeps downslope toward northeast fire guards.

The wildfire service has seen low fire activity, but they have a helicopter in the area to dampen any flare ups and hot spots. Because the Embleton Mountain wildfire is on steep and dangerous terrain, it's been deemed the safest tactic to build fire guards and allow it to spread slowly to established fire guards.

B.C. Hydro will be present in the area today as the fire is expected to move closer to power lines. They will be there to assess the area and will fell trees that are considered dangerous. Firefighters from Barriere, Sun Peaks and Armstrong remained in the area overnight.

Southwest of Kamloops, the Durand Lake wildfire is still deemed out of control, but remains mapped at 289 hectares. The wildfire service says hot and dry weather has been challenging, but there has been no new fire growth in recent days.

Twenty-four properties continue to remain under an evacuation order due to the fire near Logan Lake.

There are over ten smaller wildfires around Kamloops that are currently being held or are under control, with the largest discovered July 15, south of the city at Cole Hill. It's being held at 33 hectares.

One wildfire near Kamloops is classified as out of control on the Mount Peter ridge line and is estimated to be two hectares after it was discovered on July 13.

For more wildfire updates, check the B.C. Wildfire Service website and dashboard here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 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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