Progress by crews prompts rescind of fire evacuations

Residents affected by five wildfires within the Kamloops Fire Center have been allowed to return to their homes

Kamloops Fire Center

KAMLOOPS – After a week of continued efforts to suppress several fires of note throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre, residents affected by five of these wildfires have been allowed to return to their homes.

The Smith Creek, Apex, Botanie, Maka-Murray and Jura wildfires had displayed very aggressive fire behaviour and that led to several evacuation alerts and evacuation orders being issued.

Firefighters have achieved increased levels of containment on all five of these wildfires, resulting in a decreased risk to public safety.

Here are the updates on current fires of note within the Kamloops Fire Centre:

Apex fire, 10 km west of Penticton: Estimated at 345 hectares, this wildfire is now 100 per cent contained. Crews are currently conducting mop-up activities, such as extinguishing hot spots and reducing the amount of smoke produced by the fire. The evacuation alert issued by the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen has been lifted.

Jura fire, Southwest of Missezula Lake: After sustained efforts by the Wildfire Management Branch, this wildfire is now 90 per cent contained and is roughly 390 hectares in size. The Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen has rescinded the evacuation alert for residents in the area.

Maka-Murray fire, five km west of the Juliet exit on the Coquihalla Highway: This wildfire is now 45 per cent contained and is estimated at 340 hectares. The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has lifted its evacuation order and evacuation alert for approximately 30 properties.

Smith Creek fire, three km northwest of downtown West Kelowna: This wildfire is currently mapped at roughly 280 hectares and is 100-per-cent contained. As firefighting resources continue to work on this fire, the Central Okanagan Regional District has lifted its evacuation orders. However, an evacuation alert remains in place.

Botanie Road fire, North of Lytton: This wildfire is mapped at 1,389 hectares and is currently 50 per cent contained. Significant rainfall over the past 24 hours has helped firefighters extinguish hotspots on this fire. The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has rescinded its evacuation orders for residents affected by this fire, but an evacuation alert remains in place.

Four of these wildfires are suspected to be human-caused and were therefore preventable.

Anyone found in contravention of an open fire or campfire prohibition may be issued a ticket for $345, or if convicted in court, may be fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 and be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

The Kamloops Fire Centre is urging the public to continue to report any smoke or flames that they see. You can report a wildfire by calling 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on your cellphone.