The Sparks Lake wildfire grew to the northeast over the weekend causing properties from Darfield to McLure, as well as the District of Barriere, to be on evacuation alert. (Screenshot / BC Wildfire Service dashboard)

The Sparks Lake wildfire grew to the northeast over the weekend causing properties from Darfield to McLure, as well as the District of Barriere, to be on evacuation alert. (Screenshot / BC Wildfire Service dashboard)

Overnight rain in Interior welcomed, not enough to stop wildfire behaviour

Precipitation slowed down growth of fires and helped crews to manage and establish guards

There were 84 active wildfires within the Kamloops Fire Centre, as of Tuesday, Aug. 17.

Wildfires of Note

There are 17 wildfires of note within the Kamloops Fire Centre.

Sparks Lake

The Sparks Lake wildfire is estimated to be 95,980 hectares in size, according to the BC Wildfire Service, and is still classified as out of control.

In a video posted to the BCWS Twitter and Facebook accounts, incident commander High Murdoch provided an update for both the Sparks Lake and Tremont wildfires.

Over 24 hours, about 20,000 hectares of growth was noted on both fires, he said, noting the growth on the Sparks Lake fire was to the northeast, sparking the evacuation alerts from Darfield to McLure, as well as the District of Barriere.

Rain was welcomed throughout much of the interior, including over the Sparks Lake fire, but there was less precipitation over the northern areas. BCWS mentioned about 11 millimeters of rain fell in various areas throughout the fire.

“You might be able to hear it in the background, Mother Nature is giving us a bit of help,” said Murdoch in the video. “But far from out of the woods on these fires, of course, just appreciate the brief reprieve so we can focus our energies.”

Fire activity continues on the northeast flank, and ground personnel are engaged in a direct attack along the Jamieson Forest Service Road near Dunsapie Lake. Personnel also continue to assess the area for locations for heavy equipment to establish contingency lines to the northeast.

The Blackpool and Little Fort fire departments were in the Little Fort area near Thuya Creek setting up structural protection equipment and guards. In a post to Facebook, Sara Kalis Gilbert, who recently moved to the area, thanked the crews for being there and “helping a new resident relax a bit in the face of wildfire threat.”

Crews from the Blackpool and Little Fort fire departments helped to set up structural protection Monday evening (Aug. 16) in the area of Thuya Creek near Little Fort. (Sara Kalis Gilbert / Facebook)

As of Aug. 17, there are 123 firefighters, 7 helicopters and 32 pieces of heavy equipment on site of the wildfire. Over 100 structural protection personnel are shared within the Sparks Lake Complex. The cause is believed to be by human, but is still under investigation.

Momich Lake

The Momich Lake fire is now 16,534 hectares. The fire joined with K21478 fire located northeast of Adams Lake. On Aug. 13, hand ignition operations to secure the northern corner above Adams Lake were successful, according to BCWS. They noted more ignitions will be performed as the conditions allow.

There are 37 firefighters, 5 structure protection personnel and 35 pieces of heavy equipment on site of the wildfire. Ten helicopters are available to respond. The cause is under investigation.

Tremont Creek

The 63,980-hectare fire received various amounts of rain yesterday afternoon. Between 11 and 27 millimetres of precipitation was recorded. As areas around Logan Lake become more secured, crews were able to focus on the community of Cherry Creek where the fire experienced a lot of growth, said Murdoch. Structural protection crews and heavy equipment are working to construct a fire guard south of Cherry Creek.

Crews on the ground are actioning the fire along Tunkwa Lake Road, where possible, and structure protection is being maintained at Paska and Face Lakes, while heavy equipment works to establish a fire guard to the west.

Along the northern flank of the fire, from Barnes Lake to Walhachin, there is very minimal to no fire activity and the area continues to be patrolled by fire crews.

There are 60 firefighters, 10 helicopters and 37 pieces of heavy equipment on site of the wildfire. The cause is under investigation.

White Rock Lake

The White Rock Lake wildfire is now estimated at 78,190 hectares in size.

Much-needed rain, lower temperatures and high relative humidity diminished the activity of the fire, in the short term, according to an update from the BCWS, though the amount of rain that fell is not enough to have a lasting effect. Despite this, the BCWS said it gave crews a chance to strengthen existing guards and establish new ones.

“Wildfire officers have re-established work objectives in active suppression response areas after experiencing increased fire activity on all areas of the wildfire on Aug. 15,” the update reads. “Crews, equipment and aerial resources will continue to defend remaining guard and containment lines that are still operational.”

The BCWS also noted that areas that didn’t receive as much rain will experience heightened levels of fire behaviour, especially during wind gusts, adding structure protection crews are working around the clock in the communities affect most by the fire.

The BCWS continues to combat the fire with 219 firefighters, 143 structure protection personnel, 16 helicopters, 18 danger tree assessors/fallers and 64 pieces of heavy equipment.

Kamloops Fire Zone

A wildfire near the Raft River Forest Service Road (K22068) is an estimated 582 hectares in size. As of Aug. 11, Interfor and additional crew were able to action the fire and establish a guard. The fire is now classified as being held.

Another located northwest of Clearwater (K21361), also near Raft River, is an estimated 358 hectares in size and as of Aug. 17, the fire is also now classified as being held.

A wildfire near Harper Creek is still at 50 hectares and was being actioned by crews according to a post to Facebook on Aug. 14 by TNRD Area “A” director Carol Schaffer. Another in the Saskum Lake area is still 0.1 hectares. Both are noted as out of control with no known cause at this time, according to BCWS.

A wildfire near Gollen Creek has grown to 832 hectares, according to BCWS, and is located at the north end of Adams Lake. Evacuation orders have been issued in the area due to the Gollen Creek and Momich Lake wildfires.

A large wildfire in Wells Gray Park is still an estimated 2,169, according to the BCWS dashboard. The fires in that area do not have resources assigned to them, according to the Kamloops Fire Centre, as they do not pose an immediate threat to people, property or critical infrastructure. However, crews in the air do continue to monitor the fires in the area as they travel to other sites and will action the fires if required.

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