The Tremont Creek and Lytton Creek wildfires continue to burn out of control as of July 27. The Tremont Creek fire near Ashcroft is estimated to be 12,016 hectares, while the Lytton Creek fire, burning to the south and east of Spences Bridge, has grown to 37,452 hectares (all sizes are as estimated by BC Wildfire Service).
A machine guard has been completed around the perimeter of the Tremont Creek fire, which continues to be fanned by high winds in the area. Over the weekend of July 24 the fire jumped Highway 97C east of Barnes Lake Road, but firefighters were able to contain the hotspots.
On July 26 evacuation alerts for Cache Creek, Boston Flats, the Ashcroft Band, and Thompson River Estates were changed to all clear. In Ashcroft, the Mesa subdivision east of town remains on evacuation alert, but the alert for the rest of the community was changed to all clear.
Koppers (the tie plant) on Evans Road, Walhachin, properties along the CP rail line west of Walhachin, and properties south of Highway 97C at Kirkland Ranch Road were downgraded from evacuation orders to evacuation alerts. A large area around Barnes Lake remains on evacuation order, with an area restriction also in place.
The Lytton Creek fire prompted an evacuation order for 169 properties in and around Spences Bridge on July 22. As of July 27, the order remains in place.
The fire has threatened properties along Highway 8 and at one point crossed the highway, creating a 50 hectare spot fire that was surrounded by a hose lay, then mopped up by crews. Highway 1 was closed for several hours overnight on July 26/27 while crews carried out a controlled burn.
The main body of the fire remains on the west side of the Nicola River, where ground crews have successfully been utilizing hand ignitions to control the spread of the fire towards the river. Heavy equipment has been working to establish a contingency guard on the southeast flank of the fire.
The Chasm fire north of Clinton is estimated at 454 hectares. On July 23, firefighters established a 20-foot blackline around 90 per cent of the fire, and over the weekend increased the blackline and continued to patrol and extinguish hot spots around the perimeter of the fire. An evacuation alert for the area remains in place.
As of Tuesday, July 27 there were 250 fires burning in the province, with 88 of those fires in the Kamloops Fire Centre. In Emergency Management BC’s Central region — which includes the Kamloops Fire Centre — there were 55 evacuation alerts and 48 evacuation orders in place, out of a total 85 alerts and 61 orders in the province.
There have been 1,226 wildfires sparked since April 1, with the province approximately one month ahead of the typical seasonal pace for new fire starts. A total of 417,694 hectares of land have been burned. As of July 27 there were 38 wildfires of note burning in the province, 16 of them in the Kamloops Fire Centre.
For a list of all wildfires currently burning in the province, go to http://bit.ly/2HCKBod. To see all the current evacuation orders and alerts in the region, go to the TNRD dashboard at https://bit.ly/3dcIk0L.
An extreme heat warning is expected for the Interior later this week, with temperatures in the high 30s for the next few days and no rain in sight. The fire danger throughout the region is rated as high to extreme.
Highway 8 is closed between Spences Bridge and 17 kilometres west of Merritt. Highway 1 has reopened between Lytton and Spences Bridge and Highway 12 has reopened between Lytton and Lillooet. Both highways have been closed since June 30 due to wildfires and to support firefighting operations.
Vehicles can now travel from Hope to Lillooet via highways 1 and 12, or from Hope to Cache Creek via Highway 1. Travellers can expect closures on short notice should fire activity increase or if suppression efforts are required.
Travellers are encouraged to limit travel to essential and local only. To respect the wishes of Lytton, Lytton First Nations, and all Indigenous communities impacted by wildfire, travellers are asked to continue on to their destinations and not stop in impacted communities.
Fences have been compromised during the wildfires, meaning that livestock might wander onto area highways. Watch out for livestock, which can appear suddenly, behave erratically, and be difficult to spot in smoky conditions.
Drivers are reminded to observe posted speed limits, traffic control devices, flag persons, and firefighting crews. For the most up-to-date road information, visit www.drivebc.ca.