The BC Wildfire Service map shows the locations of the fires which were started by the thunderstorm on July 31. Note that one of the reported fires in the Larch Hills and one southeast of Sicamous proved to be unfounded. (BC Wildfire Service)

Lighting sparks fires across the Shuswap

Crews are assessing or supressing four fires in the area

After a brief but intense burst of lightning strikes hit the Shuswap in the early evening of July 31, BC Wildfire Service crews began working to asses and suppress fires that started during the storm.

The fire most visible from the Shuswap’s populated areas started at the top of Bastion Mountain north of Salmon Arm. An aircraft was seen circling the mountain shortly after the smoky fire became visible.

Suppression work on the blaze began quickly, with a Rapattack crew inserted by helicopter to begin attacking the Bastion Mountain fire at approximately 8:40 p.m.

A heli-tanker provided support to the Bastion crew until sundown. The next morning, an eight-person ground crew moved in to take over work on the fire.

East of the Bastion Mountain blaze, a three-person crew began suppression work on another fire in the Bastion Point area.

Related: UPDATE: 8 new fires sparked from Shuswap to Revelstoke

The storm also started a fire in the hills above the west shore of Mara Lake. The fire was assessed Tuesday morning but suppression efforts hadn’t begun as of press time as BC Wildfire crews were required to work on more than 20 new fires started by the lightning storm across the Kamloops Fire Centre.

Another fire started approximately 15 kilometres southeast of Sicamous. Six BC Wildfire Service personnel were on scene as of press time. At the time, the BC Wildfire Service’s online map stated the fire measured .15 of a hectare.

Related: UPDATE: Wildfire reported at Monte Lake

A second fire appearing on the map near Sicamous proved to be a smoke chase, or an incorrect report.

A fire in the Larch Hills showing on the online map proved to be a duplicate report of the fire near Mara Lake.

None of the fires in the Shuswap area are near populated areas or threatening structures.

A total of 132 new fires started in B.C. on July 31.


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