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Region's large fires still burning, others being mopped up

The province remains under a state of emergency as wildfires continue to burn, despite more stable weather in the past week. Since April, more than 425,000 hectares of the province has burned, as a result of 1,230 wildfires.
White Rock Lake July 25
The White Rock Lake wildfire, seen here on July 25, 2021, has prompted evacuation orders and alerts and continues to grow.

The province remains under a state of emergency as wildfires continue to burn, despite more stable weather in the past week.

Since April, more than 425,000 hectares of the province has burned, as a result of 1,230 wildfires. Of those fires, 253 remain active, and 38 have been designated as fires of note, which are fires that are more visible or pose a threat to life and property.

According to BC Wildfire Service director of fire centre operations Rob Schweitzer, the 10-year average by this time of year is 642 fires with 105,000 hectares burned.

"So, obviously we're significantly ahead of the 10-year average," he said on Tuesday.

Schweitzer said smoke is expected to remain stagnant in the short term, but may be blown out of valleys by Friday when the Interior heats up again.

While some fires continue to burn near Kamloops, others have been tamed by the BC Wildfire Service and other personnel, leading to relaxed evacuation orders and alerts for some.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Sparks Lake wildfire, which started approximately 15 kilometres north of Kamloops Lake, measured more than 58,000 hectares in size.

Recent activity on that fire is mostly on the north and eastern flanks of the blaze. BC Wildfire Service crews are currently conducting mop-up operations in the Deadman Valley, and are working on containing the blaze north of Sabiston Lake.

Evacuation orders surround that fire, affecting hundreds of properties. Some areas to the north are also under alert, as well as an order around Loop Lake to the west and another to the south, just north of Highway 1.

At last update, the wildfire service has assigned 116 firefighters, nine helicopters and 42 pieces of heavy equipment to fight the blaze. Another 27 personnel, five trailers and one specialist are protecting structures in the area.

The White Rock Lake wildfire, meanwhile, has pushed east to the south of Westwold.

On Monday, the fire produced a large column of smoke that rained ash down on Kamloops and surrounding areas. The BC Wildfire Service said that with hot and dry conditions continuing, the fire is expected to continue to grow.

Fire engines continue to patrol the area in order to protect property, while heavy equipment is being used to establish fire guard lines.

Air tankers, which have been difficult to use in the area due to wind, smoke and terrain, but the wildfire service said they will be used to drop retardant when possible.

Resources on the fire include six helicopters, 139 firefighters, 35 pieces of heavy equipment and structural protection equipment and specialists.

Evacuation orders for the south side of Westwold and areas further south remain in place, while orders extend as far north as the Duck Range area north of Monte Lake. On Tuesday, evacuation alerts were issued for areas to the north and west of the fire, including parts of Monte Creek and the eastern edge of Barnhartvale.

West of Kamloops near Savona, the Tremont Creek wildfire has been burning along its southern and western flanks.

Road closures along Highway 97C have been an issue due to the encroaching blaze.

Tremont Creek stands at 12,000 hectares in size with 61 firefighters, seven helicopters and 30 pieces of heavy equipment. Resources are also being shared with the Sparks Lake wildfire, just to the north.

Two other area fires have quieted down in recent days, allowing for evacuation orders and alerts to be rescinded, including the Embleton Mountain wildfire, where crews are working along the perimeter and at hotspots, and the Durand Lake wildfire, which is now considered under control.