Where there’s fire, there’s smoke

The Newby Lake fire is the largest wildfire in the

Kamloops Fire Centre coverage area that is not contained.

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

Pemberton area.

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

Chopaka.

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

said.

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

in 2014.

“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,”

she said.

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

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