Smoke rises from a fire near Mann Lake on Wednesday. The fire is located on the ridge to the west of Blackpool. The photo was taken from Blackpool firehall, with one of the fire trucks on the left.

New fire found on west side of river on Wednesday

Little Fort Complex of wildfires seems to be expanding to the west side of the North Thompson River

The wildfire situation in the Little Fort to Clearwater area took another twist on Wednesday with a new fire on the west side of the North Thompson River.

The fire was found on Wednesday morning near the headwaters Lemeiux Creek northwest of Little Fort near Mann Lake. As of early Wednesday evening it was reported on the BC Wildfire Service website to be 2.5 hectares in size.

According to the District of Clearwater website, as of early Wednesday evening it was four hectares in size. Air tankers responded immediately and two Initial Attack crews were on site. Another IA crew was on its way from Kamloops.

Crews from Blackpool Fire Department continue to make regular patrols along Highway 5 towards Little Fort to help prevent more spot-fires from developing on the west side of the river.

Clearwater Fire Department members are patrolling along Dunn Lake Road.

According to a posting made on the District of Clearwater website, the three wildfires known as the Little Fort Complex – K20675 (located southwest of the community), K20666 (located northeast of the community on Boulder Mountain), and K20706 (located on Queen Bess Ridge, to the north of Boulder Mountain) are still are estimated at a collective 1,300 hectares.

Poor visibility due to smoke continues to hinder efforts to accurately ascertain the fires’ size.

At the time, all three were primarily exhibiting Rank 1 and 2 fire behaviour, which ranges from smouldering ground fire to an open surface flame. Some pockets of Rank 3 have also been observed, which is a more vigorous surface flame.

BC Wildfire Service has 126 firefighters, two response officers, two line locators, six helicopters, eight pieces of heavy equipment, two water tenders, and six structural protection personnel assigned to the Little Fort complex of wildfires. Contractors, including those from the local area, were working in conjunction with the BC Wildfire Service in the Little Fort area.

The terrain involved in these incidents is very steep and rocky, and fire is causing debris to roll downslope unexpectedly.

As of Wednesday evening the residents of Little Fort remained at home after the order to evacuate was rescinded on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District expanded the evacuation order at Dunn Lake to include one residence at the south end of the lake.

The evacuation order for the area north of Hallamore Lake around Beaver Lake was rescinded as well.

However, the evaccuation order for the area around Hallamore Lake continues.

According to BC Wildfire Service, the purpose of evacuations and closures is to ensure the safety of the public, as well as to ensure the safety of responders and access for heavy equipment.

If members of the public see increased wildfire activity or safety hazards, they are asked to call the BC Wildfire Service or local emergency services immediately and not to attempt to access the site.

Please note than a public access area restriction is in effect for the Little Fort Complex wildfires. It is important that members of the public obey the evacuation orders, road closures and prohibited access areas for safety purposes.

Regular updates are posted electronically to www.bcwildfire.ca under the “Current Wildfire Situation” tab, and then under “Wildfires of Note”, and listed with the Kamloops Fire Centre under the incident names.

FOR THE RECORD: The original version of this story was based on the misunderstanding that there were two new fires on July 12, one at Lemeiux Creek and the other at Mann Lake. It now appears that there was in fact just one. We apologize for the error.

 

A helicopter flies toward a fire burning near Mann Lake west of Blackpool early Wednesday evening. The photo was taken from the junction of Highay 5 and Old North Thompson Highway in Blackpool.

Members of Blackpool Fire Department found this ember on a hydrant next to their firehall on Wednesday. It appears to have come from the fire on Queen Bess Ridge, which is about 10 km away.

Winds early Wednesday evening push a fire burning along Queen Bess ridge northwards. The fire started Friday afternoon and by Saturday evening its leading edge was about seven km north of where it had begun. It appears to have more or less remained there since but could move again if strong winds persist.