The BC Wildfire Service responded to multiple fire starts across B.C.’s southern interior on Sunday as a heat wave combined with thunderstorm cells created conditions ripe for wildfires.
The Kamloops Fire Centre is responding to 14 suspected lightning-caused fires across the Kamloops, Vernon, Penticton, Merritt and Lillooet zones.
“It’s been a pretty busy weekend for our crews,” said fire information officer Gagan Lidhran.
“We’ve been lucky that there was no lightning last night in the Kamloops Fire Centre.”
One of the most visible fires in the region is located approximately 29 kilometres east of Kamloops, B.C., the East Pooley Lake wildfire.
The blaze is classified as being held, meaning the fire service does not anticipate any further spread beyond the existing boundaries due to weather conditions and suppression tactics.
Two initial attack crews and a response officer are on site of the East Pooley Lake wildfire.
The fire is sized at approximately 0.87 hectares and no structures are currently threatened.
The Solco Creek wildfire, located approximately 27 kilometres northeast of Oliver, is the largest fire in the region, covering 13.8 hectares.
That fire is now considered as “being held” and is not expected to grow. Lidhran expects a full fireguard will be in place by late Sunday afternoon.
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One helicopter is bucketing the Solco Creek fire, she said, and there are two heavy equipment operators and 41 ground personnel on site.
No structures are threatened at this time.
The 1.1-hectare Kilmer Creek fire, discovered on July 29 and burning southeast of Penticton, is now considered under control, meaning the fire has received sufficient suppression action.
Two spot-sized fires near Vernon’s SilverStar Mountain Resort, which broke out during Friday’s lightning storm, are classified as extinguished as of Sunday.
In the Shuswap, a lightning-caused blaze on Mount Boysse south of Chase, B.C., is burning out-of-control and covers one hectare of land.
“It is still hot out, we are still not past the long weekend and we do still see abandoned campfires, so we caution the public to please be careful,” Lidhran said.
Meanwhile, the BC Wildfire Service has been responding to multiple lightning-caused wildfire starts in the Southeast Fire Centre.
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The Arrow, Boundary, Columbia and Cranbrook zones have had ignitions over the last 48 hours.
While there are currently no fires of note, the BC Wildfire Service ground crews and air support are responding to four fires that are visible from the Revelstoke area, located either on or near Mount Begbie.
The largest of these fires is estimated at 0.1 hectares in size and there are multiple crews on scene with helicopter support.
Crews may also be seen working on the Burton Creek wildfire that is located approximately 35 kilometres south of Nakusp.
The fire is estimated at 0.1 hectares in size and ground crews are receiving support from both air tanker and rappel crews.
“The BC Wildfire Service was aware of the possibility of dry thunderstorm conditions over the weekend,” said fire information officer Kim Wright.
“In response to the anticipated weather patterns, additional crews and resources were strategically placed on standby throughout the Southeast Fire Centre to ensure rapid response capabilities.”
Forty-two of the 48 fires currently burning in the province started in the last 48 hours. Most of those fires are believed to have been caused by lightning.
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B.C.’s fire danger rating is now listed as high with pockets of extreme across B.C.’s southern interior.
Heat warnings remain in place for parts of the Southern Interior, including the Thompson, Boundary and West Kootenay regions, with temperatures forecast to hit 35 C.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.
For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air-quality advisories, visit: bcwildfire.ca
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