Update: BC Wildfire Service continues to battle the 24,698-hectare McKay Creek wildfire west of Pavilion, with planned ignitions to bring the fire down to the Lee Creek machine guard Tuesday if conditions permit.
The planned ignitions are safer and more operable ground for crews, BCWS said in an update on its website, while the guard will also be reinforced by helicopter constructed retardant line on the non-fire side of the machine guard. “This burn will be a combination of aerial and hand ignitions and smoke will be visible from Highway 99,” the update reads.
Evacuation orders remain in effect for the West Pavilion road from the 14km mark to the 41km mark in Electoral Area B as well as for the Pavilion Lake area in Electoral Area B. About 109 personnel, with 14 helicopters and 21 heavy equipment are working on the wildfire.
The BCWS said while the McKay Creek wildfire saw increased fire behavior and winds Monday night, no containment lines were challenged. A guard was completed in the vicinity of Lee Creek, while crews conducted small-scale ignitions against the guards on and below the West Pavilion Forest Service Road and continued with mop-up.
East of the Fraser River, on the southwest corner, heavy equipment completed the guards above the community of Pavilion. It is expected the guard parallel to the transmission lines will also be completed by mid-afternoon Tuesday. Crews are establishing hose lay and continue with mop-up from the guard above the community of Pavilion.
Meanwhile, structure protection personnel are maintaining existing sprinkler systems in the Pavilion community. Crews will begin to assess if it is safe to demobilize sprinkler systems in the secure areas on the West Pavilion Road.
BC Wildfire Service has issued an area restriction order for the vicinity of the McKay Creek wildfire west of Pavilion.
The restriction, which came into effect at noon Saturday, June 3 and will remain in place until Oct. 15, is to “protect the public in areas where there are ongoing fire suppression activities,” BCSW said in an update.
Under the order and Section 11(2) of the Wildfire Act, a person must not remain in or enter the restricted area without prior written authorization from an official designated for the purposes of the Wildfire Act unless they are travelling to or from a principal residence or from private or leased property for the purposes of accessing a secondary residence or recreational property that is not under an evacuation order; travelling as a person acting in an official capacity; travelling for the purpose of supporting wildfire suppression activities; and engaging and/or participating in agricultural activities pertaining to livestock or vineyard management on private or leased property.
Failure to comply may result in a violation ticket of $1,150.
BCWS is still investigating the cause of the 23,600-hectare McKay Creek fire. Late Saturday afternoon, the fire experienced increased fire behavior due to winds out of the north, with growth on the south end of the fire above the West Pavilion Road crossing the Slok Creek, according to BCWS.
“Crews worked overnight to monitor the area. Also, there was increased fire activity resulting in growth on the east side of the Fraser River along the Pavilion Clinton Road towards Pavilion,” the BC Wildfire said in an update. “Structure Protection personnel worked overnight in the vicinity of the Pavilion and West Pavilion Roads as a precautionary measure.”
Earlier Saturday, the BC Wildfire Service said it is optimizing resources and pulling firefighters from less affected areas to help battle four fires of note in the Thompson Nicola Regional District, including McKay Creek, Sparks Lake, Durant Lake. and the Lytton Creek and George Road wildfires. All four fires remain out of control.
Kaitlin Baskerville, Kamloops fire centre manager for the BC Wildfire Services, told the TNRD and other stakeholders in a virtual public meeting Saturday that crews are stationed in zones throughout the region to respond to new starts and four fires of note. She added crews have been challenged in recent days by smoke, which makes it harder to fly or get good visibility. “We’re just getting started on these fires and getting a good understanding on what’s required next,” she said.