Update: 3:45 p.m., Friday, April 28
The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) has a more accurate estimate of the size of a smouldering wildfire in the North Shuswap.
According to a BCWS spokesperson with the Kamloops Fire Centre, the “Horseshoe Bay” wildfire near St. Ives is now 15 hectares. An earlier estimate had it at three hectares; however, it was explained smoke from the fire had prevented BCWS personnel from acquiring an accurate measurement.
The fire is classified as out of control, though it remains a Rank 1 smouldering ground fire.
A 20-person BCWS crew, including a helicopter, is attacking the fire, with assistance from the Anglemont Fire Department.
The fire is suspected to be person caused, though the BCWS is still investigating.
North Shuswap firefighters saw an early start to wildfire season late Thursday afternoon with a large fire near Anglemont.
Around 4 p.m. on April 28, the Anglemont Fire Department responded to the fire, located north of Horseshoe Bay, west of St. Ives. Firefighters from the Celista and Scotch Creek/Lee Creek fire departments provided mutual aid.
Columbia Shuswap Regional District Fire Services Coordinator Sean Coubrough said the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) was called right away.
When Coubrough arrived on scene, he said the fire had reached about three hectares.
“It’s very early in the season for us to be getting this kind of fire call,” said Coubrough. “All the fire activity, though, was really Rank 1/Rank 2 – the lowest rank fires. So we’re talking smouldering ground fire, some flames visible in some spots.”
Coubrough said the fire departments focused on nearby structures, making sure they were protected, while a BC Wildfire Service helicopter crew assessed and then water bombed the blaze.
“The closest houses in both directions (east/west) had very little fuel around them so they seemed to be following the FireSmart principles and therefore were at very little risk of being impacted by this fire,” said Coubrough.
The helicopter remained on scene until it became too dark for the aerial operation to continue.
Coubrough said a relief crew was expected to arrive on the scene Friday morning to do an assessment and come up with an action plan for the day.
Asked about the cause, Coubrough said BC Wildfire Service is investigating. On its website, the BCWS said the fire is suspected to be human caused.
“If this fire happened another month from now, that’s an entirely different fire,” said Coubrough. “We’re fortunate at this time of year. It certainly gives us a little bit of concern for the coming fire season and I can’t stress enough, residents need to be very careful with open burning. Make sure you have an ample water supply… and are able to keep the fire under control. Anything in category three, make sure you’re getting your burn permit for that and just be very careful.”
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