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UPDATE: Significant infrastructure damage in North Shuswap due to wildfire

Fire behaviour likely to increase Tuesday; wild animals attracted to the area due to rotting food in fridges
The BC Wildfire Service said repair work continued on the Holding Bridge near the Flume Trail in Tsútswecw Par on Monday, Aug. 28. The bridge and surrounding area were impacted by the Bush Creek East wildfire. (Matt Zimmer/Facebook photo)

UPDATE: Monday, Aug. 28, 8:18 p.m.:

Fire behaviour is expected to increase Tuesday, Aug. 29, said the Shuswap Emergency Program in an update at 5 p.m. Monday.

The warming and dry trend will continue with wind adding to the mix over the next two days with the potential for light showers. Smoke columns and flames may be visible. Active fire will be more visible and additional smoke will be produced. BC Wildfire in partnership with local structural fire crews is monitoring and actioning any hotspots. Those in Evacuation Alert areas should remain on alert.

Cooler weather is expected after Wednesday.

Food Safety

Those affected by significant power outages are advised that all perishable foods should be assessed and disposed of immediately upon your return.

If your fridge and/or freezer has foul odours it may need to be replaced. Discard anything that has completely thawed. Make sure to make a list of the items you’ve had to discard as part of your insurance claim.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has been providing garbage bins in the communities for waste. They are located at Celista Fire Hall, Scotch Creek Market, Anglemont Ross Creek General Store, and coming soon to Lee Creek.

Discarded fridges and freezers are not being accepted at these bins. More details to come regarding the fridge/freezer disposable program.


In its Monday morning, Aug. 28 update, BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) said with increasing wind, increased fire activity at the Bush Creek East blaze was expected, with pockets of fuel burning within the fire’s perimeter becoming more visible.

The BCWS warned of several major safety hazards present in the area including danger trees.

By Monday afternoon, information officer Mike McCulley stated that while there had been an increase in fire behaviour there had been no big change to the size of the blaze which remains at 43,000 hectares and out of control.

Possible minimal precipitation is forecast for the region on Tuesday evening. After Tuesday, temperatures should return to normal, with cooler days, more humidity and longer nights allowing for a better environment to manage the flames.

In the Little Shuswap, BCWS crews continued to mop up guards east of Banshee Lake and adjacent to Banshee Road. Heavy machinery had constructed a guard along Cougar Road, and crews were patrolling the area to prevent any fire spread.

West of Adams Lake, BCWS was monitoring properties on both sides and working with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to get the Holding Bridge repair complete, and the Holding Road cleared. The bridge was open to single-lane traffic for response vehicles. A machine guard was being constructed from Adams Lake south along the east flank up to Pisima FSR.

Columbia Shuswap Regional District confirmed there is significant damage to infrastructure in the North Shuswap area with hundreds of power poles burnt, down power lines and roads in disrepair. McCulley stressed that recovery in the area is going to take time and that local government is going to need to work with managing partners such as BC Hydro to repair the damage.

At Scotch Creek/Lee Creek, 40 BCWS personnel were working on building a combination of a direct line with heavy equipment and an indirect line along the fire’s edge behind Lee Creek. Small-scale hand ignitions were being conducted along Hilliam Rd. A scan of the fire near Scotch Creek was being done to identify hot spots and allow crews to complete mop up in the area. Control lines and anchor points are being established in Meadow Creek.

In Celista, structural protection crews and apparatus were in place, and bucket helicopters were assisting where needed. Crews and heavy machinery continued with guard construction and reinforcement along the 5402 FSR, and were mopping up along the fire edge in the northwest corner. Danger tree assessments and mitigation were ongoing along the 5400 and 5402 roads.

At Turtle Valley/Sorrento, on the southeast flank of the fire near Sorrento, flare-ups were visible due to an inversion that occurred overnight. There had been no real growth of fire in that area, however, it is burning in steep terrain where crews are unable to work. Firefighters are working above the community of Sorrento creating a guard around the area.

McCulley confirmed there were no plans for ignitions in the Sorrento area, for the next coming days.

He added crews have been watching the north above Magna Bay and Celista, getting to understand the wind patterns by working with the locals to understand how the weather works in the area.

Those working on the fire line are being fed and provided gas; however, BCWS did not know if the locals’ animals were being fed.

When asked about the supplies being blocked to those who stayed behind in the evacuation order, the CSRD said that materials aren’t provided by the regional district because those who defy the order are considered to be self-sufficient and must stay on their property.

The CSRD added that it has to have security to protect the evacuation order area and that it cannot let anyone through the area who isn’t part of local government, BC Wildfire, RCMP and security, as it is a hazard and keeping the area secure is a priority.

A plan is coming to address fridges and freezers that have been without power, as wild animals are being attracted to the area by the smell of rotting food.

North Shuswap property owners who have lost structures will be contacted today by the CSRD.

READ MORE: North Shuswap firefighter unwavering after losing home, fire hall to wildfire

READ MORE: BC Hydro mobilizing crews to restore power in the Shuswap

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