Two of B.C.'s largest wildfires near Kamloops now 'being held' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Two of B.C.'s largest wildfires near Kamloops now 'being held'

The Sparks Lake wildfire, June 30, 2021.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/BC Wildfire Service
August 26, 2021 - 1:14 PM

Two massive wildfires near Kamloops are no longer out of control as cooler temperatures helped keep them within established fire guards.

B.C. Wildfire Service does not expect growth beyond perimeters at both the Tremont Creek and Sparks Lake wildfires. The wildfires are considered "being held" as of Aug. 26, according to the wildfire service.

"With current resources and conditions we see, it's unlikely these two fires will go past their fire perimeters," fire information officer Greg Jonuk said.

A change in fire status at both wildfires presents a boost in morale for firefighters, not just for the personnel assigned to the blazes now, but also for those who have moved to other wildfires in B.C. or returned home out-of-province, Jonuk said.

"I think they're probably still paying attention and patting themselves on the back as well," he said.

READ MORE: Great weekend ahead for sun worshippers in Kamloops, Okanagan

The Tremont Creek wildfire, estimated to cover over 63,500 hectares, was discovered on July 12. The larger Sparks Lake wildfire is estimated at 89,626 hectares and was discovered on June 28.

Both fires have prompted evacuations for thousands of residents, including the entire community of Logan Lake due to the Tremont Creek fire. Even more were placed on evacuation alert.

Though the change in fire status may be a sign that the fire season in B.C. is coming to a close, Jonuk warns that warm temperatures and drought conditions persist in the southern Interior, posing a continued wildfire risk.

One benefit for firefighters, however, is cooler overnight temperatures. Jonuk said that cooler temperatures can reduce fire activity overnight, so crews can better predict what the fire activity will look like in the morning and how much it has spread.

At the Sparks Lake wildfire, crews are having success on most flanks of the blaze in securing fire guards, but fire activity continues on the northeast flank. Structure protection efforts are winding down in most areas of the wildfire, but those efforts are continuing near cabins around Hoopatakwa, Heller and Elbow Lakes.

READ MORE: Logan Lake has written the Fire Smart playbook for other cities, towns to follow

Helicopters will continue to cool fire activity in the northeast region of the blaze, while fire guards are being established ahead of the blaze near the Heller Creek and Jamieson Creek Forest Service Roads, according to the wildfire service.

The wildfire service is currently winding down its air fleet, but at Sparks Lake, one helicopter remains, with three others shared between Sparks Lake and Tremont Creek.

Jonuk said this is because air support is not used to suppress the wildfires but to cool the area, making it safe for ground crews to approach the wildfire.

Ninety-five firefighters remain assigned to the Sparks Lake wildfire with ten pieces of heavy equipment. There are 149 firefighters at Tremont Creek with 25 pieces of heavy equipment and five additional helicopters.

Forty-two support staff and 18 structure protection personnel are shared between the two wildfires.

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Crews at the Tremont Creek wildfire are using direct attack methods to help secure perimeters and mop up is continuing around Logan Lake.

At both wildfires, a risk of growth and evacuations remains present as the 2021 fire season continues, but the Thompson Nicola Regional District has rescinded many evacuation orders, even giving "all clear" notices to many residents previously at risk of the Tremont Creek or Sparks Lake wildfires. For evacuation updates, check the regional district website here.

People in the area can expect to see smoke rise from within fire perimeters, but any smoke that rises near or outside fire perimeters should be reported to the wildfire service.

READ MORE: North Westside residents angry at lack of communication from fire officials

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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