Lightning ignites 21 new fires across Kamloops Fire Centre

Fifteen of those fires sparked within Okanagan Valley

A combination of thunderstorms and high winds have led to 21 new fires started across the Kamloops Fire Centre.

The B.C. Wildfire Service was braced for the severe erratic weather conditions and had allocated resources to bolster initial attack crews to whatever fires were reported.

Related: Thousands of northwest and Cariboo region residents prepare to evacuate

So far today, within the Kamloops Fire Centre 11 fires have been sparked in the Penticton zone which includes Kelowna and Peachland; four in Vernon zone; three in Merritt zone; two in the Kamloops zone; and one in the Lillooet zone.

“Most of them believed to be started from lightning,” said Wildfire BC information officer Brenna Ward. “We were expecting this and have been prioritizing our resources to deal with it. We expect this erratic weather activity to continue through to tomorrow.”

Related: Thunderstorm warning across Okanagan Valley

Ward said all but one of the Penticton zone fires so far have generated a manpower resource response.

Ward said 20 of the 21 new spot fires were less than .009 hectares in size, indicating while they are small in size firefighting efforts are focused on making sure none of them gain any momentum.

“With the smoke right now, it is a bit harder to detect where these fires might be so we might be responding tomorrow to fires being spotted that started today,” Ward said.

She said the high winds are not helping the existing firefighting efforts, but “it is causing us to get creative with how we deal with resources.”

“It certainly doesn’t help with what we are dealing with now,” she said.

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barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

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