South half of Sparks Lake wildfire in mop up, continues burning north with intensity | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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South half of Sparks Lake wildfire in mop up, continues burning north with intensity

July 30, 2021 - 12:53 PM

The B.C. Wildfire Service is prioritizing securing the southern perimeters of the Sparks Lake wildfire that are close to the highway corridor and local communities before moving north to contain the fire.

The wildfire has put hundreds of rural Thompson Nicola Regional District properties at-risk, along with the Skeetchstn Indian Band, but fire guards have been successful at preventing further spread.

"At the northern flank, it has been the head of the fire. That's where crews are getting to within the week, but full containment can take about a month," fire information officer for the wildfire service, Forrest Tower, said. "We're resourcing based on priority concerns, and the main focus has been on the southern half of the fire, closer to private properties, the highway corridor, Skeetchstn Indian Band and Kamloops."

The Sparks Lake wildfire was first discovered more than a month ago on June 28. Since then, it has grown to cover an estimated 65,484 hectares north of Kamloops Lake, as of July 30.

Hot weather and winds have, however, caused the fire to spread to the north with intensity.

There are no current efforts to build fire guards in that area as the wildfire service continues to move guard lines northward on the east and west flanks but there are structural protection crews on northern flanks assessing properties that are eight kilometers away.

Tower said there have been individuals staying behind to protect their properties despite evacuation orders, then calling for wildfire crews to divert resources as they see the blaze approach their properties.

While the wildfire service has been attempting to protect properties, he said it's difficult to spread resources across such a large wildfire without compromising their goals to implement fire guards.

"Crews are getting closer and closer to pinching it on the top each day," Tower said. "Especially in a huge fire like this... you have to decide where the most impact would be if there weren't resources there. We're doing what we can with the resources we have."

The regional district downgraded an evacuation order for seven properties near Copper Creek Road, north of Savona, July 29, as parts of the wildfire come under control.

There are still evacuation alerts and orders in place from the regional district, which can be viewed on its website here.

There are currently 78 firefighters at the Sparks Lake wildfire, with nine helicopters and 32 heavy equipment units. There are also three structural protection crews, each consisting of five people, with one structural protection specialist, assisting in the area.

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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News from © iNFOnews, 2021

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