Five fires of note burning in the North Okanagan continue to challenge firefighting crews.
Increased fire behaviour has been seen at Harris Creek (260 hectares), Mabel Creek (200 hectares), Sugar Mountain (170 hectares) and Procter Road (now 52.5 hectares) while Monte Lake remains controlled at 114 hectares.
“With the drying trend and higher temperatures, increased fire behaviour is expected,” BC Wildfire Service fire information officer Rosalie MacAulay said. “Burning debris has been rolling over containment lines.”
At Harris Creek, planned ignitions have been successfully completed this week by 32 firefighters on scene who are also working with Tolko personnel and six pieces of heavy equipment as well as seven helicopters in the area available as needed.
North of Lumby, the Mabel Creek fire crossed the creek this week therefore crews are working to build guards on the west flank to limit growth toward Mabel Lake. Smoke will be highly visible from this fire. A fire camp is also expected to be set up Friday east of Lumby and helipads are being established.
“There will be potential for significant fire growth if there are new starts,” the service said in a release. “Fires will be surface fires but starts in continuous grass fuels will potentially grow to 20 hectares in 30 minutes during peak burning periods. Temperature and fuels indicate slow fire spread; however, steep slopes and winds aligning with the slope would result in significant runs.”
There are 15 BCWS firefighters and two danger tree assessors along with Tolko staff and their seven pieces of equipment on the suppression of this wildfire.
Sugar Mountain is also seeing elevations in fire behaviour during the afternoon hours.
“Tolko is working 4 a.m. to noon on the fire since Saturday, mostly putting in roads and guards,” said Cherryville Fire Warden, Clint Whitecotton. “Helicopters are bucketing on it now in the evenings.”
Fire on the east slope is a concern but they have a line on the bottom side and northwest side.
“Concern is to keep the fire from running up the draw through all the timber fuel,” said Whitecotton.
Area restrictions remain in place for both the Sugar and Mabel fires in order to address public safety and avoid interface with fire control.
Growth at the Procter Road wildfire (previously mapped at 20 hectares) is due to more accurate mapping.
“The crews have made excellent progress in the suppression of this wildfire and will continue to work to increase containment,” said MacAuley. “They have a machine guard on the north end of the perimeter on flat ground, and they also have a fuel free zone around the entire perimeter of the Proctor Road wildfire.”
The blaze, considered as being held, has 13 firefighters on scene.
There were also two small fires burning near Westside Road earlier this week, but both have since been extinguished.
Report of a fire near Predator Ridge Wednesday turned out to be false.
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