The Elephant Hill fire as seen near 70 Mile House yesterday (Aug. 18). Kellie Holloway photo.

Aug. 19: Elephant Hill fire now 25 per cent contained

Fire stayed within control lines on all flanks of fire today

The Elephant Hill fire is at 25 per cent containment, says Fire Information Officer Noelle Kekula.

“We’ve got 75 per cent more to go.”

Containment means that crews have built a guard in the area and through that and controlled burns, have a substantial line the fire is not expected to jump.

She says getting the fire contained is the ultimate goal.

“Getting some more back between the perimeter and the control line and getting rid of the green, so that is our goal and the crews are amazing, air crews, ground crews, everyone. So it’s important to remember that.”

Overall today, Kekula says that crews worked to keep the fire within control lines.

Crews conducted hand ignitions in the south western portion of the fire, north of Highway 99.

“I’ve just talked to the guy in charge over there and he says it is looking really good and they are happy with what they are seeing,” she says.

The fire has remained inside the control lines throughout the day on all flanks of the fire.

“Crews are just coming off the line here now in Big Sky and they are looking dirty and beat up, so it looks like they put in a good day,” says Kekula, speaking from near Savona.

The northern flank of the fire remains south of Green Lake, and had 150 people working on it again today, she says.

“There was helicopter support on it, but we had a lot of equipment and manpower on it again, just tightening that [control] line as we were before.”

The BC Wildfire Service was also able to recommend a downgrade to the evacuation order in the Loon Lake area today, which will become effective tomorrow.

Related: Loon Lake residents can return home as of 1 p.m. Sunday

“That’s some good news,” says Kekula.

Residents should remember that they are coming back into an active fire zone, however, says Kekula.

“I just was in that Loon Lake area this afternoon having a look and you can still see puffs of smoke, you can still see candeling trees,” she says. “However, we feel that it’s all burned, it’s black, there is not much more for it to burn in and around Loon Lake.”

There will be a meeting for those returning in Cache Creek on Aug. 20 (tomorrow) at 11 a.m.

Kekula reminds returning and returned residents that there is an area restriction in place on crown land for the Elephant Hill fire. She says RCMP members and conservation officers are patrolling the affected area, and says that “looky-loos” will get ticketed if they are found in the backcountry.

“You can go home but it still is an active fire and we are out there, so don’t interfere with the activities or you will be ticketed.”

Details about the area restriction are available at www.bcfireinfo.for.gov.bc.ca.

Original story: It is cooler today and there was precipitation on the Elephant Hill fire says Fire Information Officer Noelle Kekula.

“Crews are going to continue to work on getting more black between the control line and the perimeter of the fire.”

The weather is expected to turn to a warmer dry pattern, says Kekula.

Kekula also has a warning for people.

“Not only is it an active fire, but we have a real concern with the trees and trees blowing down, green trees and dead trees because we’ve had the drought for so long that the tree stability is really weak. So we absolutely do not condone people going into these evacuation order areas… Even the people who have come back into these areas where orders have been downgraded just be very cautious that the trees are very precarious.”

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