Retardant being sprayed in the area of the Tremont Creek wildfire near Barnes Lake, July 2021. The TNRD estimates that more than 160 structures have been lost in the region due to wildfires, and assessments are still ongoing. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)

Retardant being sprayed in the area of the Tremont Creek wildfire near Barnes Lake, July 2021. The TNRD estimates that more than 160 structures have been lost in the region due to wildfires, and assessments are still ongoing. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)

Excluding Lytton, more than 160 structures lost to fires in TNRD

Damage to grazing and forage lands has not been assessed, and more structure losses are expected

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District says that as of Aug. 27 there have been 161 structure losses within the TNRD due to five wildfires in the region, and that there will probably be more discoveries as further assessments are made.

Public information officer Michelle Nordstrom, from the TNRD Emergency Operations Centre, says that the losses to date do not include any losses on First Nations land or within municipalities like the Village of Lytton. The exact extent of the losses in Lytton from the fire that started there on June 30 have not yet been determined.

The Tremont Creek, White Rock Lake, July Mountain, Lytton Creek, and Sparks Lake fires burned a combined total of 338,313 hectares, or 3,383 square kilometres. All five fires are still listed as “Wildfires of Note” by the BC Wildfire Service on their website, but the first three are now classed as Being Held, while Lytton Creek and Sparks Lake are classed as Under Control.

Nordstrom says that the breakdown of losses so far is 53 primary residences, 28 seasonal dwellings, seven commercial or industrial buildings, 66 accessory buildings (outbuildings), and seven unknown/to be determined structures.

Three accessory buildings are listed as lost due to the Tremont Creek wildfire, while there are 11 primary dwellings, 24 seasonal dwellings, 17 accessory buildings, and three unknown buildings known so far to have been lost in the Sparks Lake wildfire. Excluding the Village of Lytton, there were 10 primary dwellings, one seasonal dwelling, five commercial/industrial buildings, 15 accessory buildings, and three unknown buildings lost in the Lytton Creek wildfire.

Nordstrom adds that grazing lands, as well as foraging and traditional lands, have been affected by the wildfires, and that the TNRD is now waiting for an estimate of the size of the losses.

As a comparison, in 2017 a total of 217 structures in the TNRD (excluding First Nations and municipal properties) were destroyed or suffered substantial damage from wildfires. Nordstrom says that this year is substantially different to 2017 in terms of the spread of the losses, adding that it has been more challenging this year to try to assess the extent of the damage.

Although there are only two evacuation orders still in effect in the TNRD, and many of the evacuation alerts have been rescinded to all clear, area restrictions remain in place for several wildfires because of hazards such as ash pits — where the ground looks stable but has been undermined by fires burning underground — and danger trees, which appear to be stable and intact but which have had their root systems damaged, and are prone to falling unexpectedly.

No hunting is permitted within lands under area restriction, because of these dangers and for the protection of wildland firefighters who are still in the area. For a list of area restrictions related to fires in the Kamloops Fire Centre — including Tremont Creek, Lytton Creek, Sparks Lake, and White Rock Lake — go to https://bit.ly/3kYp61Q.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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B.C. Wildfires 2021