Update: Structures still at risk from Snowy Mountain fire

While the Snowy Mountain wildfire continues to rage, crews are actioning two new fires

Update: 6:30 p.m.

Located in the Snowy Protected Area, about 14 km south of Keremeos, the Snowy Mountain wildfire has now grown to an estimated 10.911 hectares as of Saturday evening. Aggressive fire behaviour occurred late Friday due to extreme winds from the north. Crews are still working to contain the fire but B.C. Wildfire service said it’s still 0 per cent contained. Evacuation alert is still in effect.

Update: 3 p.m.

Crews are supported by bucketing helicopters as they work south to conduct burn-offs as safe conditions allow to remove fuel from the slopes adjacent to properties in order to halt the forward progression of the fire. Structural protection specialists will continue to assess properties on the valley bottom, moving south along the Chopaka Road, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

The spot fire that occurred due to very strong winds on the east side of the Similkameen River on the riverbank in the Beecroft Road area had 25 BCWS firefighters and the Keremeos Fire Department respond with heavy equipment. The spot fire does not pose a risk to structures or communities, BC Wildfire said. A total of 80 firefighters, three helicopters and 4 pieces of heavy equipment are on scene today.

As of Aug. 3, the Lower Similkameen Indian Band issued an evacuation order for homes on Chopaka Road due to fire growth to the south.

Update 12 p.m.

Details have yet to be released as to whether any structures were impacted by the raging Snowy Mountain fire near Chopaka.

Extreme wind caused “aggressive fire behaviour,” overnight threatening 21 Chopaka Road properties. Properties were evacuated earlier in the day on Thursday.

Crews from the Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department along with BC Wildfire crews worked throughout the night to keep structures safe.

“The fire remained to the west of Chopaka Road, but is burning in a southward direction. BC Wildfire Service night crews responded in conjunction with the Keremeos Fire Department to prioritize life and safety within the evacuation order area. Additional resources were deployed to assist, including intitial attack crews and officers out of Penticton and BC Wildfire Service Incident Management Team staff. Details are forthcoming on any structural impacts,” a release from BC Wildfire stated.

Currently there area 70 firefithers, three helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment fighting the fire.

“Crews are supported by bucketing helicopters as they work south to conduct burn-offs as safe conditions allow to remove fuel from the slopes adjacent to properties in order to halt the forward progression of the fire. Structural protection specialists will continue to assess properties on the valley bottom, moving south along the Chopaka Road,” the release stated.

***

Update 9:45 a.m.

Crews are still working to small wildfires that started on private property across the highway from the Lower Similkameen Indian Band office, about 10 kilometres east of Keremeos.

Nicole Bonnet, fire information officer for the Kamloops Fire Centre, said the cause of the fires are “believed to be related to some kind of human activity.

“Our fire origin and cause team will be out there today,” she said during a phone interview.

At the time of the phone call, she was not aware of any structures lost to the fires.

Bonnet said the fires were small in size with the larger being two hectares and the other 0.6 hectares.

BC Wildfire crews along with Keremeos Volunteer fire department members worked to contain the fires. The Kaleden Volunteer fire department along with several others are providing mutual aid to Keremeos as local crews last night and this morning were working to keep homes in Chopaka safe from the Snowy Mountain fire and also fought a structure fire in Keremeos, unrelated to the wildfires.

“There are still crews out there They’re making really good process and patrolling for hot spots,” she said.

***

Update 8:43 a.m.

Drive BC is reporting Highway 3 has been reopened.

“Forest fire east of Keremeos has cleared, expect heavy delays and congestion in the area,” a Tweet from Drive BC states.

Update 7 a.m.

Highway 3 is closed in both directions as a result of two new wildfires burning in the Lower Similkameen Indian Band jurisdiction about 10 kilometres east of Keremeos.

Drive BC reports the estimated time of opening is not available at this time. The detour is listed as Highway 3A to Highway 97. The next update will come at 7:30 a.m.

Claire Allen, fire information officer for BC Wildfire, said an exact location of the fires is not yet available.

“It’s located in the valley bottom near the Highway,” she said.

Original:

Details are limited, but there are two new wildfires burning within the Lower Similkameen Indian Band jurisdiction.

“What is really important for folks to know is that these are not spot fires from the Snowy Mountain wildfire there are two new fires,” Claire Allen, BC Wildfire information officer told the Review Saturday morning.

The LSIB stretches over 15, 276 hectares and is located near Keremeos.

Related: Update: Snowy Mountain fire now 10,911 hectares in size

Allen received an update just minutes earlier from the wildfire crews working the fires. A specific location of the fires or size was not available at the time of this posting.

“As initial attack is the priority, BC Wildfire Service crews were reassigned to the Snowy Mountain Fire responded to the two new fires,” a release from BC Wildfire stated.

Members of the Keremeos Fire Department are also working on this fire.

The Kaleden Volunteer Fire Department was called in on mutual aid. Other community departments including Princeton, and Osoyoos might also be sending firefighters or trucks.

Overnight the Snowy Mountain fire exhibited aggressive behaviour with extreme winds coming from the north.

“The fire remained to the west of Chopaka Road, but is burning in a southward direction. BC Wildfire Service night crews responded in conjunction with the Keremeos Fire Department to prioritize life and safety within the evacuation order area. Additional resources were deployed to assist, including intitial attack crews and officers out of Penticton and BC Wildfire Service Incident Management Team staff. Details are forthcoming on any structural impacts,” the release stated.

Related: Early morning blaze pushes Keremeos fire resources to the max

More to come.

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editor@keremeosreview.com
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@TaraBowieBC
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