Smoke of the Elephant Hill fire seen yesterday (July 29). Carole Rooney photo.

Smoke of the Elephant Hill fire seen yesterday (July 29). Carole Rooney photo.

July 30: Elephant Hill fire estimated at 78,548 hectares

“The fire remains on the east side of Highway 97. No structures were lost.”

9:30 p.m. update: “Crews were fighting hard on the Clinton side of the Elephant Hill fire,” says Fire Information Officer Heather Rice.

“Some success today, the fire remains on the east side of Highway 97. No structures were lost. They’re fighting really hard along the mount area to protect all those structures.”

The fire is now estimated at 78,548 hectares, says Rice.

“We still have a lot of structural firefighters here assisting with monitoring up and down the highway and also the Loon Lake area, helping with structure protection in there. The winds were still very volatile today so even though it didn’t jump the lines, it was still very busy within the actual fire perimeter and lots of smoke again today and some column.”

More hot and dry weather is expected tomorrow, according to Rice, who says they’re increasing night operations because that’s when the fire is calmest.

“Tomorrow it will be also refocussing on that north flank and trying to get some larger guard in the north flank to try and keep the fire in check and then also really hope for less wind and unpredictable gusts of wind that we’ve been seeing as of late,” says Rice.

Rice says that crew numbers are increasing, including an Australian team, but won’t have the exact numbers until tomorrow morning. She adds that the camp will be moved from Clinton to 100 Mile House where it was previously located for the Gustafsen fire.

“[This is] so that we can be in closer proximity to the north end of the fire and be able to work in access areas from there and also to provide information to the areas north of the fire because I know those are the people who are getting the smoke and want to know what’s going on.”

Original story: The Elephant Hill fire has fully jumped the Bonaparte river.

“The fire did have a bit of a run again late yesterday afternoon. The winds did pick up again and created quite aggressive fire behaviour causing it to jump the Bonaparte which is what led to the evacuation of Clinton. Currently, efforts are all along that west flank protecting the townsite of Clinton,” says Fire Information Officer Heather Rice.

Related: New alert issued for Bonaparte, Eagan and Machete Lakes

“We’re again today seeing quite aggressive fire behaviour. Even as early as 11 a.m. there were reports of some rank 5 fire, which is pretty early in the morning to be seeing that kind of activity. This hot dry weather and these unpredictable winds are creating quite the challenge,” says Rice.

Rank 5 fire behaviour indicates extremely vigorous surface fire or active crown fire, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

Rice says that they’re focusing efforts on the north flank but that she hasn’t had an update on that portion of the effort yet.

“They’re going to be focusing certainly on protecting that whole corridor along the highway and Clinton and then doing the best they can in the north flank.”