Sicamous Creek gorge holding wildfire near Shuswap community at bay | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Sicamous Creek gorge holding wildfire near Shuswap community at bay

The wildfire burning to the south of Sicamous, July 21, 2021.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Shuswap Lake Watch
July 23, 2021 - 11:16 AM

The Sicamous Creek gorge near the Shuswap community that was the source of flooding in 2012 is now its saving grace.

District of Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz said the Two Mile Road wildfire has climbed to the upper part of the gorge and there's a kilometre drop and about three kilometres of space between the fire and the gorge.

“That’s working in our favour right now, but the wind’s been in our favour too and things seem a little bit more positive this morning,” he said. “In 2012, that gorge was our biggest problem because we had that big flood… now it’s our biggest friend because of that fact that it’s in that location and it’s keeping the fire from coming in towards Sicamous.”

The Two Mile Road wildfire, burning to the south of the town, is estimated to be 1,000 hectares in size and B.C. Wildfire Service fire information officer Aydan Coray said the fire is being fought with roughly 30 wildfire personnel, heavy equipment and two helicopters today, July 23.

The fire’s growth yesterday was on the eastern side away from buildings, Coray said. Firefighters will be building guards around the fire today, but she didn’t have specifics on where guards are being established.

Eight Vancouver Island firefighters have joined the Sicamous Fire Department today to help out, the mayor said.

An evacuation order remains in place for all residences within the District of Sicamous that lie to the south of Sherlock Road, southeast of Cook Avenue, Gillis Avenue, Larch Avenue, east of the Sicamous Narrows and Mara Lake, and north of Sicamous Creek. Visit the regional district’s website for more information. An evacuation alert has been issued by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District for the areas of the District of Sicamous and Swansea Point.

Residents have been finding refuge with family and friends, and enough motels and hotels have had spaces to take them in the region. The B.C. Ambulance Service has evacuated those with disabilities and mobility issues to Salmon Arm, Rysz said.

“It’s been incredible as far as I’m concerned, as how well everybody bought into trying to find refuge,” the mayor said. “The community has really pulled together. People have offered up their homes and their basements and Airbnbs."

No structures have been lost so far, thanks to the quick reaction from B.C. Wildfire and also with Mara Lake being in a close proximity, he said.

“All of Two Mile is pretty much protected,” he said. Crews are working to extinguish hot spots today on the lower part of the fire.

“We’re feeling pretty optimistic but we’re cautiously optimistic,” Rysz said.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District is implementing the Alertable mass notification system to send emergency alerts and advisories directly to subscribers. Effective immediately, residents and visitors can sign up to receive direct notifications through a variety of options including a mobile app, text, email, phone website or home smart speakers, according to the regional district.

For more information and to sign up, visit the regional district's website.


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