Weather has helped in the fight against a number of fires burning in the Kamloops Fire Centre, but the BC Wildfire Service said the threat of new ignitions remains with dry and windy weather expected.
With three millimetres of rain falling on much of the Sparks Lake wildfire, which is burning about 40 kilometres northwest of the city, some progress has been made.
Although there were some concerns around the wind that came with Wednesday night’s (July 7) storm that moved through the area, the rain bumped up the relative humidity, which has aided firefighters, according to an update from the BC Wildfire Service on Thursday.
On Thursday, crews were working on establishing a fire guard from the Sabiston Creek area of the fire to Sedge Lake.
On the western edge of the blaze, the goal is to keep it on the east side of the Deadman River, with planned ignitions to help accomplish that by reducing available fuel.
Crews are also working on the northern flank of the fire, where there are three additional spot fires being handled by the same crews, in addition to a fire to the east, which was last measured at 132 hectares, but has seen slower growth.
The Sparks Lake wildfire was last measured at approximately 39,000 hectares. It's being tended to by 122 firefighters, 189 personnel, 47 pieces of heavy equipment and 15 helicopters.
At the Durand Lake wildfire about 25 kilometres southwest of Kamloops. near Greenstone Mountain, crews have managed to establish a 100 per cent fire guard using heavy equipment. Air tankers and helicopters are also being used. That blaze is estimated at approximately 280 hectares in size.
Finally, at the Napier Lake fire 30 kilometres south of Kamloops, crews are still working to contain the perimeter of the blaze. So far, it has burned about 56 hectares and was in close proximity to homes in the area. As such, the BC Wildfire Service designated it as a fire of note.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District also issued an evacuation order on Wednesday evening, but quickly downgraded that order to an alert thanks to rain in the area.
The BC Wildfire Service also said that on Wednesday evening, the Kamloops Fire Centre saw 566 lightning strikes, but only trace amounts of rain, meaning crews will be vigilant in watching for new fires, especially with wind and dry conditions expected to continue.
Environment Canada is calling for the heat wave to continue, with temperatures in the mid-30s through next week.
Those using drones have also caught the attention of the wildfire service.
"If you own a drone and you're curious about the fires, don't be. We cannot have you interrupting our fire operations," a BC Wildfire Service spokesperson said during Thursday's update with the TNRD.