An aerial view of the Mabel Lake fire, with the marina in Enderby shown across the lake. (Ariel Tyk photo) An aerial view of the Mabel Lake fire, with the marina in Enderby shown across the lake. (Ariel Tyk photo)

Update: Evacuation alert issued around Mabel Lake

BC Wildfire Service expected to limit access today, including camping

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.

……………………………………………

UPDATE Wednesday 4 p.m.

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.

UPDATED THURSDAY 1:30 p.m.

The Harris Creek fire burning in the hills above Lumby has seen substantial growth.

The active wildfire is now 70 hectares in size.

UPDATED THURSDAY 11:30 a.m.

Wildfire activity has grown to 31 blazes in the Vernon Fire Zone.

The main concerns are a 30 hectare blaze towards Sugar Lake and several fires burning near Mabel Lake.

Campers in the Cottonwood Recreational Site were evacuated Wednesday, when the initial Mabel fire, burning one kilometre from the lake, was discovered.

“That was evacuated when the fire was first detected. It was done more as a precautionary measure. There’s no official evacuation orders or alerts,” said Jody Lucius, fire information officer with BC Wildfire Service.

Meanwhile, four new fires have been discovered near the initial Mabel blaze.

“The crews and our zone staff out there are still assessing the new ones,” said Lucius. “We’ve had a number of new ones discovered in the past 24 hours.”

The Sugar Mountain fire is being monitored.

“It is up in the mountain away from any structure.”

Near Highway 6, the Spallumcheen Forest fire has eight personnel on site today. It is sitting at 2.6 hectares.

Closer to Lumby, the Procter blaze, four hectares, also has eight personnel on site and three pieces of heavy equipment.

“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.

The Harris Creek fire is also burning up in the hills and is eight hectares.

“I’m not too concerned about that one,” said Clayton.

Meanwhile near Falkland the Monte Lake fire has tripled in size to 60 hectares.

“Air support has been requested this morning,” said Lucius, adding that there are seven personnel on site.

Due to the sheer number of fires burning, crews are prioritizing.

“If they’re burning up away from the communities high in the hills they may be left to burn until we can get some resources on them,” said Lucius.

…………………………………………………………………………

UPDATED THURSDAY 9 A.M.

Several new spot fires have popped up near the Mabel Lake fire north of Lumby.

The original lightning-caused blaze one kilometre east of the lake still sits at two hectares.

But now, a little further north, four new fires were discovered late Wednesday.

Mabel Lake 1, Mabel Lake 2 and Mabel Lake 3 are all .01 hectares and within close proximity to easch other up Mabel Creek.

A fourth blaze, closer to Tsuius Creek, called Mabel Lake 4, is .1 hectares.

Over in Cherryville, the Spallumcheen Forest (Silver Hills) blaze remains active.

“It looks like it’s going up the hill not down so that is good,” said Jessie Campbell, whose Cherryville home is across the river from the fire.”It is under control but not out yet.”

UPDATED WEDNESDAY, 9 P.M.

Another new wildfire is being reported near Lumby, while others continue to grow.

A .01 hectare blaze is reported near Trinity Valley Road.

Meanwhile the Mabel Lake fire has grown to two hectares.

The Procter Road blaze has also grown to four hectares and three firefighters were working on the fire Wednesday afternoon.

The nearby Spallumcheen Forest fire (Silver Hills near Cherryville) is listed at 2.6 hectares. Three firefighters and one piece of heavy equipment are actioning this blaze.

“Airtankers were onsite at both fires earlier but have since finished their objectives,” the BC Wildfire Service reported Wednesday evening. “They will be requested for further support if needed.”

Further north east, the Sugar Mountain fire is now 30 hectares.

Over by Falkland, the Monte Creek fire has also seen substantial growths.

“The Monte Lake wildfire, which is estimated at 22 hectares, is burning approximately 45 kilometres southeast of Kamloops and is exhibiting aggressive fire behaviour this afternoon,” the BC Wildfire Service reported Wednesday. “Suppression activities are being carried out by 16 personnel and six pieces of heavy equipment. They are supported by airtankers dropping fire retardant and skimmer aircraft using water to cool parts of the fire.”

Harris Creek still sits at eight hectares.

“Additional fire starts are possible with lightning forecast for the area in the coming days.”

UPDATED WEDNESDAY, 6:00 P.M.

Two new fires have been discovered in the North Okanagan to add to the long list of those sparked Tuesday night.

BC Wildfire Service is reporting a .3 hectare blaze at Mount Mabel, near Mabel Lake.

The lightning-caused blaze is one kilometre east of Mabel Lake.

“So far so good, ya the fire is going pretty good though,” said Randy Smith, who is vacationing at a nearby cabin in the Cottonwood Creek area.

The fire in Monte Lake, caused by lightning, has grown to eight hectares. See: Wildfire reported at Monte Lake

Meanwhile the Harris Creek forest service road blaze has also grown to eight hectares. It was caused by lightning.

The Procter Road fire between Lumby and Cherryville is two hectares. Ground crews and air support are on scene.

Neighbouring this fire is a blaze off Highway 6, closer to Cherryville, originally reported as the Silver Hills fire but now called Spallumcheen Forest.

“At 4 p.m. we saw lightening strike a tree and off it went,” said Jessie Campbell, who has been watching the blaze from their Highway 6 home ever since. “It’s my back yard…the (Shuswap) river divides us.

“We have everything important packed since yesterday.”

While the blaze grew overnight, Campbell reports that choppers have been actioning the fire all day and has since decreased.

The Hunter Range blaze is has been removed from BC Wildfire Service’s list.


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

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The Harris Creek wildfire has grown to 163 hectares as of Friday. (Lovanda Marie photo)

Crews battle the Procter fire near Lumby Thursday. (Dave Nikki Deubby photo)

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