Lightning storms rock Shuswap

Kamloops Fire Centre reported seven new fires popped up Monday, four of which were confirmed Tuesday as lightning-caused…

  • Aug. 14, 2013 6:00 p.m.

Initially intent on shooting the expected meteor shower

Nature’s crashing, flashing, light and sound show in the skies over Salmon Arm Monday night hadn’t sparked as many fires by Tuesday as might be expected. But it was responsible for a fire in the Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road area.

Melissa Welsh, fire information officer at the Kamloops Fire Centre, reported that seven new fires popped up Monday, four of which were confirmed Tuesday as lightning-caused and three were still under investigation.

The majority were spot-sized, but firefighters were working on a fire five kilometres east of Herald Provincial Park on the north side of the road. It was about one hectare in size Tuesday morning and was burning along the forest floor with low intensity.

A rappel crew of three firefighters was being flown in, Welsh said, because the only existing access was by air. Once they were on site, they would likely clear a heli-pad so an additional five firefighters could be brought in.

Kenn Mount, fire services coordinator for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, said the two properties and four structures closest to the fire had been notified and told to be aware of it. He said the fire was still a long way from the park.

Mount said the blaze wasn’t contained, but progress was being made.

“It’s on a slope that’s difficult to access so you want to hit it hard and prevent it from going down the slope.”

Firefighters were able to get an early start on the fire thanks to the eyes of Salmon Arm Fire Chief Brad Shirley. Mount says Shirley spotted its earliest signs from his home Monday night.

For the immediate future, fire crews in the region will be looking for hold-over sites, where fires can remain dormant for a day or two and then flare up.

Since Friday, Welsh says, 17 fires have been burning in the Salmon Arm zone, which includes Sicamous.

The public is asked to immediately report any smoke or fires spotted, either by calling 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cell phone.


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