Wildfire crews continue to battle out of control fire west of Kamloops - InfoNews

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Wildfire crews continue to battle out of control fire west of Kamloops

A wildfire burning near Savona, west of Kamloops is estimated to have burned 100 hectares as of June 5, 2019.
Image Credit: TWITTER/@BCGovFireInfo
June 06, 2019 - 10:52 AM

SAVONA — The wildfire burning in dry grass and sage west of Kamloops is still out of control today.

The blaze was spotted yesterday afternoon, June 5, near Savona along the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and Cache Creek. No homes or structures are currently threatened by the fire.

Air tankers and other aircraft hit the fire hard yesterday with drops of fire retardant and water. Erratic and gusty winds challenged suppression efforts. The fire was initially sized at 0.8 hectares and grew quickly to 100 hectares.

Fire information officer Marla Catherall with B.C. Wildfire Service says they have 33 personnel on the ground today, June 6, fighting the blaze. Crews are building a hand guard on the eastern flank of the fire.

Catherall says a decrease in temperature and wind overnight helped in the fight.

Since the wildfire was near Highway 1, all lanes of the highway were closed last night for several hours. The highway has since reopened, according to Drive B.C.

The fire is suspected to be human-caused.

Environment Canada reports a “precipitation deficit” in the Kamloops area after an extremely dry spring and even the five to 10 millimetres of rain expected across the region this weekend won’t be enough to erase the parched conditions.

Forecaster Matt MacDonald says last month was the seventh warmest May in the region since 1893, while Kamloops only saw 64 per cent of normal precipitation for the month — the third dry month in a row.

“We’re sitting about 50 millimetres short of normal rainfall amounts. The spring, as a whole, was very dry,” MacDonald says. “There’s just such a significant precipitation deficit for the first part of the year for most of the Southern Interior.”

After weekend showers pass through MacDonald says hot, dry conditions are forecast to return with temperatures in the low 30s expected to last for a week or more.

June rains are common in British Columbia and the wildfire service says moisture in June is the key to keeping the forest fire risk in check through July and August.

There are currently no burning bans in the Kamloops or southeast, but campfires are banned in one zone of the northeast. Open fires larger than a campfire are restricted in the Coastal, Cariboo, Northwest and Prince George fire centres.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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