Cooler temperatures, scattered precipitation, and even some snow at higher elevations throughout the region have helped slow the growth of many of the Interior’s wildfires, and allowed crews to work on the construction of fire guards and mop up hotspots.
At a public information session on Sunday, Aug. 22, BC Wildfire Service officials gave updates about the region’s fires. Because of the decreased fire activity, more than 650 properties in the TNRD have recently been downgraded from evacuation order to alert, including two on Woods Creek FSR near Barnes Lake, and 727 properties have been rescinded to all clear, including properties to the south and west of Kamloops near Cherry Creek. There are still 581 properties in the TNRD on evacuation order, and 3,288 on evacuation alert.
Existing orders and alerts are being evaluated based on current and forecast conditions. Recommendations regarding these orders and alerts will be provided to the relevant regional districts, First Nations, and municipalities, and it is expected that more will be downgraded over the next few days.
To view a map of existing evacuation orders and alerts in the TNRD, as well as areas that are now all clear, go to the TNRD interactive dashboard at https://bit.ly/3dcIk0L.
Temperatures are expected to return to more seasonal norms as of Tuesday, Aug. 24. In the meantime, crews are doing mop up work and constructing fire guards in relevant areas.
The Sparks Lake wildfire north of Kamloops Lake is estimated at 93,533 hectares, and has seen no growth over the last several days. Crews are working on the northern perimeter of the fire and in the northeast corner, and are making good progress in the Vidette and Hi-Hium areas.
The Tremont Creek wildfire east of Ashcroft is estimated at 62,533 hectares. There has been little recent activity, and the current objective is to use heavy equipment along the fire perimeter on the east flank, do mop up around Logan Lake, and construct a contingency guard south of Cherry Creek. Structure protection continues on the eastern flank of the fire around Dominic, Duffy, and Paska Lakes.
The Lytton Creek wildfire is estimated at 84,825 hectares. Guard work has been completed on the north perimeter, which has received a significant amount of precipitation. The fire has stayed up on the ridge above Botanie Valley, and there is little fire activity along Highway 1 and Highway 12. Heavy equipment is at work along Highways 8 and 97C, and guard lines in that area should be connected on Aug. 23.
Internet, cellphone, and landline service have been severely impacted in Spences Bridge and the surrounding area due to the loss of telecommunication infrastructure. TELUS has said that it might be three weeks or more before full service is restored, but is working on a temporary fix that will hopefully see more coverage in the area by mid-week.
For information about the fires mentioned above, as well as other Wildfires of Note, go to the BC Wildfire service website at http://bit.ly/2HCKBod. For up-to-date highway information, go to www.drivebc.ca.
2021 is now the third worst fire season on record in B.C., with 1,536 fires recorded since April 1 and a total of 860,801 hectares burned. The worst season was 2018 (2,117 fires and 1,354,384 hectares burned), followed by 2017 (1,353 fires and 1,216,053 hectares burned).
By contrast, in 2020 there were 670 fires recorded between April 1 and Oct. 1, which burned a total of 14,536 hectares. The 10-year average is 1,352 fires, burning 348,917 hectares.