The Sparks Lake fire remains the largest wildfire in B.C. as the BC Wildfire Service deals with a growing number of blazes across B.C.
Fire information officer Hannah Swift said on Wednesday (July 14) that the fire remains estimated at 40,267 hectares in size, though there has been growth that cannot yet be measured due to heavy smoke from the flames.
The out of control fire, suspected to be human-caused, was ignited on June 28 about 15 kilometres north of the west end of Kamloops Lake and about 40 kilometres northwest of Kamloops.
Since then, the fire has grown in several directions, including southeast toward Frederick, the off-the-grid community of 32 cabins on the north shore of Kamloops Lake, directly across from Tobiano and about 20 kilometres east of Kamloops Airport.
While the fire has not reached Frederick, the community and a large area near it is under an evacuation order.
In fact, of the 13 evacuation orders in place across B.C., six are connected with the Sparks Lake fire, with all orders and alerts, and maps, available online at tnrd.ca.
Swift said there are 90 firefighters, 10 helicopters and 58 pieces of heavy equipment working the fire, in addition to 109 support personnel, including 32 members of the Skeetchestn Indian Band helping with structural protection.
Swift said heavy equipment is working on containment lines on the southeast flank of the fire.
Multiple wildfires remain burning out of control in the Kamloops Fire Centre in a season that has already seen more than double the 10-year average for fires in the region.
According to the Kamloops Fire Centre, from April 1 to July 14, there has been 315 wildfires, up from the 10-year average of 139 in the centre — a massive area that spans from Wells Gray Park in the North to Revelstoke in the east, to the the Canada-U.S. border in the south and to Pemberton in the west.
Tremont Creek fire
Another fire of concern is the Tremont Creek fire near Ashcroft, which was discovered on July 12.
That out of control blaze is now estimated at 780 hectares and has led to an evacuation order and expanded evacuation alerts stretching west to Cache Creek and Savona.
Heavy equipment is being used to establish sage egress routes, while a structural protection unit is in place.
Embleton Mountain fire
The blaze seven kilometres west of Sun Peaks (on evacuation alert) and three kilometres west of Whitecroft (on an evacuation order) has grown to 516 hectares and remains out of control.
It is being fought with 13 firefighters and 18 structural protection personnel, while one helicopter is being used to bucket water in flare-ups.
The fire is burning in steep terrain not accessible by crews, so crews are focusing on fuel management along Heffley Louis Creek and Tod Mountain Road as they wait for the fire to back down toward them, where it can be suppressed with water.
Durand Lake fire
The out of control blaze 28 kilometres southwest of Kamloops, and about 15 kilometres north of Logan Lake, remains at 277 hectares and has had no new growth.
There are 48 firefighters, two helicopters and heavy equipment being used in the suppression effort.
Momich Lake fire
The 500-hectare out of control fire north of Chase and east of Barriere has led to an evacuation order in the area.
A large part of the fire is unaccessible and the blaze is burning up a cliff face.
Mount Peter Ridgeline fire
The blaze on the backside of Mount Peter, across from Valleyview, was spotted on July 13 when a column of smoke rose into the air.
The fire was last estimated at four hectares in size and was being attacked from the air with retardent and water.
INFORMATION FOR EVACUEES
As the growing number of wildfires in B.C. lead to more evacuation alerts and orders, the provincial government is urging those affected to register with Emergency Support Services, even if no support is needed, so loved ones and communities know where they are and that they are safe.
Evacuees can register for Emergency Support Services online by clicking here or by phone, toll-free at 1-800-585-9559.
Those affected by evacuation orders are being asked to try to find lodging with family and friends as all hotel and motel rooms in Kamloops are booked full with wildfire evacuees and other guests. In addition, the regional district-operated evacuee centre on McArthur Island is full.
Those under evacuation orders who cannot stay with family or friends are being directed to an evacuee centre in Salmon Arm.
In addition, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc has been welcoming evacuees at its Powwow Arbour at Highway 5 and Shuswap Road.
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