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Weekend rain helped a bit, but wildfires keep burning

Since April 1, the wildfire service has responded to 1,312 fires that have burned 556,000 hectares, which is twice as many fires as average and five times the average area burned when looking at the 10-year average.
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.

Despite the weekend rain, three large fires are still burning near Kamloops, continuing to tie up BC Wildfire Service resources.

Since April 1, the wildfire service has responded to 1,312 fires that have burned 556,000 hectares, which is twice as many fires as average and five times the average area burned when looking at the 10-year average.

BC Wildfire Service director of fire centre operations Rob Schweitzer said most of the new starts over the long weekend were naturally caused.

“Of the very small handful of human-caused wildfires, all have been declared out are under control or are being held,” he said of long weekend blazes.

The province currently has 249 active fires, with 174 of those being naturally caused and 17 being human caused.

With a weather system moving through the region on Sunday,, Kamloops received five millimetres of rain, according to Environment Canada.

Schweitzer said although the rain did curb fire behaviour in the area, allowing crews to attack and make progress, conditions are expected to quickly return to the extreme dry scenario that has been the norm so far this year.

The Tremont Creek wildfire is currently threatening Savona and Logan Lake, which remain under evacuation alert.

The fire’s most active location is northwest of Tunkwa Lake and the perimeter has moved within Tunkwa Provincial Park, which has been ordered evacuated. At last measure, the fire has burned 27,600 hectares.

North of the Thompson River, the Sparks Lake wildfire has now burned more than 68,000 hectares. The fire has prompted a number of evacuation orders and alerts for hundreds of properties, although Skeetchestn reserve at the entrance of the Deadman Valley.

However, as of 8 a.m. on Wednesday, the band plans to rescind the evacuation order it put in place on July 2. The reserve areas will remain on alert.

Finally, the White Rock Lake wildfire continues to pressure Westwold properties and even areas farther south along Okanagan Lake.

Evacuation alerts remain in place around the perimeter and evacuation orders are in place for areas south of Westwold and west of Monte Lake.