UPDATE 6 p.m.
Approximately 50 properties are on now on evacuation alert at Mabel Lake due to wildfire. The properties are cabins, and lots near the Cottonwood Beach rec site.
Camp host for for Cottonwood says the fire is still a ways away.
“We aren’t closed, just on evacuation notice. The fire is a ways away from us,” said Derry.
UPDATE FRIDAY, 9:15 a.m.
Area restrictions may be put in place around the Mabel Lake and Sugar Mountain fires today, putting a damper on camping plans.
The B.C. Wildfire Service restrictions, expected to come in effect at noon, would limit access in the area for public safety.
“It’s not official yet, it’s likely coming today,” said Marla Catherall, fire information officer.
“If there’s an area restriction it just means you can’t be there.”
The Sugar Mountain wildfire restriction would be from the northeast edge of Sugar Lake and north of the Sugar Creek drainage to Shuswap River and Spectrum Creek drainage. This restriction will include the Sugar Creek rec site.
A Mabel, the restriction is in the area of Tsuius Creek drainage north along the east edge of Mabel Lake as well as east along the Tsuius Creek drainage to the Devil Creek drainage. This restriction will include the Cottonwood Beach rec site.
It could also mean no traffic in on the Mabel Lake forest service road.
“If it’s in with the area restriction then you won’t be able to go on there,” said Catherall.
At the north end of Mabel Lake a Derry Drainage fire has grown to 31 hectares.
A couple of new fires have also been discovered: at Whip Creek (.01) near the Mabel Lake blaze, Ireland Creek (four hectares) near the south end of Mabel Lake) and Hesketh (.1) near Cherryville.
Meanwhile the Harris Creek fire, south of Lumby, has swelled to 163 hectares in size.
Crews made some good progress on the fires across the Kamloops Fire Centre. But in areas such as Vernon where a number of starts occured they were unable to get crews on the ground at every fire.
There is a very large fire load in the Vernon zone therefore priorities have to be made. Monte Lake and Procter are the largest concerns for crews.
To verify – a recreation campsite was evacuated earlier this week at Sugar Lake. The Sugar Mountain fire is an estimated 170 hectares but is not threatening any structures.
An update on restrictions is expected this afternon, and will be posted as soon as it becomes available.
The Mabel Lake wildfire has grown substantially.
The lightning-caused blaze, one kilometre from the lake between Lumby and Three Valley Gap, is now 200 hectares. Yet there is no action on the fire yet, as it is not a threat.
“We did an aerial assessment this afternoon (Thursday) but we do not have a crew on site,” said Nicole Bonnett, fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service. “It’s not threatening any communities or structures.”
Meanwhile earlier reports from BC Wildfire Service that a nearby campsite was evacuated are being deemed untrue.
Cottonwood Campsite host Courtney Derry reports that the recreational site is still open.
“The fire is not a threat to us,” said Derry.
There are four other spot-sized fires in the vicinity of the Mabel Lake blaze, along with another new fire further south at Finlyson Lakes sitting at an estimated 16 hectares.
South of Lumby the Harris Creek blaze is 70 hectares.
“Harris Creek is similar to the Mabel Lake one, we don’t have crews on the ground of some of the ones burning more remotely,” said Bonnett, also including the 30-hectare Sugar Mountain fire. “We are actively monitoring them.”
The four-hectare Procter fire has nine people and three pieces of heavy equipment and a helicopter on scene.
“It is visible from town,” said Lumby Fire Chief Tony Clayton. “We are keeping a close eye on it.”
All of the fires are in forestry territory, but Lumby firefighters will take action if they grow into village or regional district grounds.
There are also eight personnel on site at the Spallumcheen Forest fire in Cherryville.
“It looks like it’s going up the hill not down so that is good,” said Jessie Campbell, whose home is across the Shuswap River from the blaze. “It is under control but not out yet.”
Campbell saw lightning spark the fire Tuesday and has had bags packed ever since in the event they need to evacuate.
“It’s my back yard…the river divides us.”
Over at Monte Lake, near Falkland, 19 personnel, a helicopter and air tanker have been battling the 60 hectare fire.
“People will notice it’s grown in size since yesterday (Wednesday),” said Bonnet, adding that much of the size difference in fires is due to accurate mapping.
Wednesday saw 30 new fire starts in the Kamloops Fire Centre, plus a few more Thursday
There are currently 71 fires burning in the region. In the Vernon fire zone there are 30.
“So just under half of those 70 fires are in the Vernon area,” said Bonnett, adding that the Vernon zone encompasses Lake Country to Salmon Arm.
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