Smoke visible from 100 Mile House on Aug. 8. Tara Sprickerhoff photo.

Aug 8: “Surprise” flare-up on Ashcroft section of Elephant Hill fire

Burn off south east of Young Lake did not happen

9:20 p.m. update: “We had a little bit of a surprise of an area that restarted down towards Ashcroft there,” says Heather Rice, Fire Information Officer.

“Right along the perimeter of the old fire area, which caught us off guard because we had scanned that area several times and it’s been patrolled several times. So, a little flare up there but we hit that hard and we’ll be working on that overnight,” she says.

“That just goes to show it’s so dry. It doesn’t take much for something spark up again even though it’s been scanned and patrolled and put out, so [we’re] keeping our eyes out.”

Otherwise, Rice says everything else went fairly well.

The bigger burn off they were hoping to do south east of Young Lake did not happen.

“The winds weren’t quite what we were hoping for so as always we are not going to do it unless we think it’s relatively safe to do so, so they might try that tomorrow,” she says.

Light northerly winds are expected to continue, although she does say they may see a shift back to winds coming from the south starting Friday.

“That’s why they are working hard continually on that north flank as well so when we see wind shift changes, that wind will be well fortified.”

Crews continue to work night shifts in all areas of the fire, says Rice, and guards continue to be built west of Highway 97.

Otherwise, patches of unburnt fuel within the fire perimeter continue to burn, especially if the wind changes, says Rice.

“That’s one of the reasons we like to do our burn offs,” she says. “With Gustafsen, for example, once we had the perimeter secured we continued to do burn offs within the perimeter because they are still going to burn fuels in there that are susceptible if the winds change and a little flare up happens so it’s a constant moving thing where we are patrolling and looking at areas and assessing them.

“Until we get some cooperation with Mother Nature, that will be an ongoing issue with almost all of our fires, actually. Not just this one.”

Original story: Winds on the Elephant Hill fire stayed relatively calm overnight says Assistant Fire Information Officer Terry Murphy.

“We had again another fairly quiet evening wind-wise which is great, so the fire is, I’m not going to say stalled, but it really hasn’t seen significant growth in the last couple of days. The hectares on the perimeter has changed, but most of that is from doing controlled burning,” he says.

As of yesterday evening (July 7), the fire was estimated at 117,170 hectares.

Things went well overnight, says Murphy, and crews plan on doing controlled burns again today.

“If the weather stays permitting, they are going to do another controlled burn today south of Young Lake on the east flank to try and reinforce that guard there, but that all depends on how the weather turns out today,” says Murphy.

“They’ve been successful, the last couple days with some fairly significant burns in and around the south east of Clinton to protect that town site. They had two burns down there and those both went to my understanding fairly well.”

Still, Murphy reminds people that it is still an active fire.

‘We’re still in basically a drought condition and we haven’t seen rain for a long time,” he says.

“[People] have to be extra vigilant and very very careful, especially when it comes to activities like mowing your lawn. Water it first, then mow it, but don’t do it dry.”