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Burn postponed again on White Rock Lake wildfire

Armstrong Spallumcheen fire departments prepare by placing 21,000-gallon water containers around boundaries
A controlled bur southwest of Desert Cove on the White Rock Lake wildfire near Vernon caused considerable smoke Aug. 24. (Mike Dennison photo)

A firefighter injured on the frontlines of the 81,843-hectare White Rock Lake wildfire is already back at camp after a downhill tumble sent him to hospital as a precautionary measure Thursday, Aug. 26.

The reduction in size, BC Wildfire Services said Friday, is due to more accurate mapping on the southeast flank around Westside Road.

BCWS said it continues to see positive progress on all flanks of the fire burning out of control between Vernon and Kamloops.

“Weather is cooperating with the efforts of BC Wildfire, and amazing work is being done by several agencies,” North Westside Fire chief Alex Van Bruksvoort said. “Dangerous areas are persistent, but are being dealt with daily and North Westside Fire Rescue firefighters continue to do patrols.

Danger tree fallers are working Friday to ensure a safe scene along the west flank of the fire in preparation for more military personnel who will be patrolling the area Saturday.

Around 80 members of the Canadian Armed Forces will be making the trip from Oliver to Vernon Friday, travelling along Highway 97 in several military vehicles. Motorists were warned the journey may cause congestion along the highway and are reminded to give members space.

A planned 3,000-hectare ignitions operation around the northeast flank is once again postponed Friday as winds are, once again, not favourable.

A 350-hectare ignition on Aug. 24 brought the fire’s edge in the area down to workable ground as part of a pre-burn and on Aug. 25, a 600-hectare ignition was used to secure the fire perimeter burning north of Terrace Mountain along the southeast flank.

In preparation for the larger-scaled burn, BC Wildfire and the Armstrong Spallumcheen Fire Department have placed large blue storage containers holding 21,000 gallons of water to be used by firefighters if the need arises to defend homes.

This is a precautionary measure, the Township of Spallumcheen said in its Friday update, underscoring there is no indication the fire is set to enter the township’s boundaries.

The provincial agency said any visible fire behaviour in the northeast flank, specifically, is unrelated to Tuesday’s (Aug. 24) successful burn, but it doesn’t pose any risk to structures.

Crews in the northeast flank are working to fully extinguish the fire perimeter where the burn happened and are working on a 100-foot backline to the fire’s edge.

No growth has been observed on the west flank over the past week, BCWS said. Here, crews will continue to mop up and patrol Torch Road to Monte Pratt.

Firefighters are snuffing hot spots north of Highway 97 today along the north flank in the Monte Lake area.

Fourteen helicopters and 45 pieces of heavy equipment are aiding 279 wildland firefighters and 92 firefighters protecting structures.

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