Along with many other people in the province,
residents of the Similkameen were greeted with
smoky skies early this week as crews battled more
than 180 wild fires throughout BC.
The smoke is mainly coming from fires in the
An easterly wind has helped that heavy smoke
settle in valleys throughout the southern parts of BC.
Adding to the smokiness is the growing Newby
Lake wildfire in the Snowy Protected Area near
The fire was caused by lightening.
The Newby Lake fire is the largest wildfire in the
Kamloops Fire Centre coverage area that is not contained,
communications officer Kayla Pepper said
during an interview Tuesday afternoon.
The fire was first spotted July 2 and has since
grown to more than 600 hectares in size.
“It was burning in high elevation grassland and
timber and for the first few days it was just burning
into natural features and then it showed more activity
a few days ago and that’s when it started moving
more into the south,” she said.
The fire is burning on both sides of the Canadian
US border. It’s growing rapidly in the US. Crews are
fighting the fire from that side of the US while it is
just being monitored by Canadian wildfire personnel.
“The Newby Lake fire is a naturally occurring
fire doing a lot of good to the ecosystem in the area.
That one is being monitored closely but we don’t
have a lot of resources on it because there are higher
priority incidents going on throughout the area,” she
Also burning in the area is a fire in Ashnola that
started Saturday and has grown to 147 hectares in
size. Currently 61 BC wildfire services personnel
are fighting the fire. Air tankers and helicopters have
been used. The fire is suspected to be human caused.
“It’s a fairly steep area and it’s burning on the
north side of the Ashnola River and the north side of
the Ashnola service road.”
A 20-person crew also continues to fight a fire
near Hunter Creek in the Cawston area. The fire has
grown to 70 hectares.
At this point in the year the number of fires in the
Kamloops fire services area is up significantly.
Between April 1 and July 7 about 170 fires have
been reported up from 115 for the same timeframe
“We are facing some extremely high temperatures
and dry conditions. People need to be aware
of that and careful not to start any additional fires,”
The Ministry of Environment and Interior Health
have issued a smoky skies advisory for Similkameen,
Okanagan and Boundary areas.
Residents are cautioned to avoid strenuous outdoor
activities and should contact a health provider
if they experience any of the following symptoms:
difficulty breathing, chest pain or discomfort and
sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways