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Perimeter guards, hot spot monitoring top priority for Shuswap fire fight

Firefighters from the Yukon, Ontario and Mexico working Bush Creek East blaze
A burned car near the Scotch Creek/Lee Creek fire hall, destroyed by the Bush Creek East wildfire. (Rebecca Willson-Salmon Arm Observer)

Firefighting crews remain a steadfast presence in the North Shuswap as the Bush Creek East wildfire continues to burn out of control.

While she could not specify any area of most concern, BC Wildfire Service information officer Aydan Coray said Wednesday, Sept. 13 crews are working particularly in Turtle Valley, near Banshee Ridge in Adams Lake and up closer to Agate Bay. The westernmost flank of the fire was being guarded and heavy equipment and helicopters remain in the area.

On August 23, then-officer in charge of the Adams Complex, Forrest Tower, had said the Bush Creek East wildfire had been ranked the number-one priority wildfire in B.C. based on the Resource Sharing Wildfire Allocation Protocol (RSWAP), and that was allowing more resources to be allocated to the region.

Coray wasn’t able to say if this was still the case.

“It’s evaluated regularly, and right now, a significant amount of activity is happening up north with the Prince George Fire Centre and the situation they’re facing,” said Coray.

However, she confirmed 100 firefighters from Mexico were working with local crews and personnel from the Yukon and Ontario, spread out in every area affected by the 43,346-hectare Bush Creek East blaze.

Communities can still expect to see smoke, even as we leave the summer months, said BCWS, as temperatures still hover around the mid- to high 20s and the province remains under severe drought conditions. Smoke rising from blackened, burned areas is typically not a concern, said BCWS, but anything coming from a green, unburned area or outside the fire’s perimeter should be reported immediately.

Read more: Severe drought conditions expand in British Columbia

Fire behaviour will likely increase because of warming temperatures and sun, as winds blow west and can result in gusts Wednesday. BCWS said recoveries will worsen during this time.

AIM Roads confirmed Wednesday work has been completed along Holding Road and it is now open, as is Squilax Anglemont Road with an updated speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour.

Danger trees remain a hazard, and BCWS is working with BC Hydro and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to remove trees and replace power poles along roads between Highway 1 in Squilax and the communities of Celista and Anglemont.

In Adams Lake, mop up continued to prevent further spread north and west of Bruhn Creek Road, and work was being done to secure the perimeter near 4300 Road. Crews were also concentrating on patrolling and extinguishing hot spots along Cougar Road.

Aerial resources were supporting ground crews in the North Shuswap, including Meadows Creek, Scotch Creek and Onyx Creek. Equipment was being demobilized from Onyx Creek and Lee Creek.

Turtle Valley and Sorrento were also receiving aerial assistance, with direct attack methods from crews to identify hot spots and smoke above the south shore, said BCWS. Aerial scanning was also being done in the area.

Detailed operational updates are available on the BC Wildfire Service website under the details tab for the Bush Creek East wildfire, number K21633.

Read more: ‘Nobody died’: Public view aftermath of wildfire that ravaged North Shuswap


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Rebecca Willson

About the Author: Rebecca Willson

I took my first step into the journalism industry in November 2022 when I moved to Salmon Arm to work for the Observer and Eagle Valley News. I graduated with a journalism degree in December 2021 from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
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