Two Shuswap wildfires merge into devastating 41 square kilometre blaze | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Two Shuswap wildfires merge into devastating 41 square kilometre blaze

The Bush Creek East wildfire got close to a home in the Shuswap on August 18, 2023.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Angie Laryea

The Lower East Adams Lake wildfire merged with the Bush Creek East wildfire in the Shuswap over the weekend and is now a mega-sized fire roughly 41,000 hectares in size that is burning out of control roughly 23 kilometres northwest of Chase.

The fires merged Saturday night, Aug. 19, and are now referred to as the Bush Creek East fire, according to a Columbia-Shuswap Regional District media release.

The wildfire is could be impacted by the winds generated by tropical storm Hilary today, with winds expected to gust up to 40 km/h, but some precipitation is expected later in the evening, according to the regional district which is anticipating a decrease in fire behaviour by tomorrow.

The wildfire has been burning for well over a month after first being discovered on July 12 and lightning is the suspected cause. 

It flared up beginning of August and has since burned through communities in the Shuswap including Scotch Creek, Lee Creek and Sorrento, destroying structures and shutting down the Trans-Canada Highway between Chase and Sorrento.

READ MOREiN PHOTOS: Calmness in the Central Okanagan despite wildfire emergency

A big challenge for the BC Wildfire Service is people moving and stealing pumps, sprinklers, hoses and ATVs. Equipment set up on the Scotch Creek Bridge has been taken three times including sprinklers set up to protect it.

“We must emphasize the urgency of the situation in the North Shuswap area,” the regional district said in a media release. “The BC Wildfire Service and multiple structural fire departments are actively engaged in critical firefighting operations. We urgently request the public's cooperation in refraining from moving or taking any firefighting equipment.”

The Scotch Creek Bridge connects North Shuswap to the Trans-Canada Highway and was recently closed to traffic when it was surrounded by wildfire.

READ MORE: 'Overwhelming': Donations of water, food to frontlines of Okanagan wildfire battle not needed

Highway 1 remains closed for 18 km between Shuswap Avenue in Chase and Passechendaele Road with alternate routes available through highways 97, 97A or 97B, according to DriveBC.

For the latest from the regional district Emergency Operations Centre go here.

For the latest road closure information check out DriveBC here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 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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