Forty-seven fires are burning in Cariboo Fire Region. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

Forty-seven fires are burning in Cariboo Fire Region. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

Cariboo Fire Region anticipates cooler weather and scattered thunderstorms

General wildfire update for July 21

Cooler weather and scattered thunderstorms, with a chance of lightning, are forecast today for the Cariboo Fire Region, where firefighters continue to battle 46 wildfires.

In its latest update, BC Wildfire notes the fire danger remains high to extreme in the Chilcotin, Central, and 100 Mile zones and high with pockets of moderate to low in Quesnel zone. Backcountry closures are not recommended at this time.

Ther are still nine wildfires of note in the area, with three fires being managed by an Incident Management Team: Succour Lake, Flat Lake, and South of Canim Lake. The IMT is also managing 18 of 26 fires north of Highway 24 and east of Highway 97 within this zone. Eleven of the fires in the 100 Mile zone are now under control, six are being held, and nine are out of control.

South of Canim Lake, estimated at 2,487 hectares:

Crews will continue to work in the northeast corner of the fire toward the southwest corner. Crews are focusing on completing the fireguard, and working through very steep gullies on the west side of the fire. Helicopters available with bucketing activities. Structure protection personnel were present working in and around the nearby residences. Crews worked overnight monitoring the fire activity.

The Cariboo Regional District has upgraded the existing Evacuation Alert to an Evacuation Order on the south side of Canim Lake. The north side remains on an Evacuation Alert.

Succour Lake, estimated at 529 hectares:

There has been minimal growth of this wildfire over the last 10 days. It is not immediately threatening any communities or access roads at this time. However, due to the potential for warm and dry conditions combined with the proximity to values, evacuation alerts remain in effect.

The Cariboo Regional District has expanded the existing evacuation alerts on both the north and south sides of Canim Lake (See above).

Flat Lake, estimated at 26,191 hectares:

The Flat Lake wildfire is classified as “out of control.” Successful planned ignitions were conducted in the southeast Tuesday, and west of and along the wooden transmission lines. The goal was to remove available fuels between the fire and the transmission lines. Overnight, the fire advanced to Highway 97 at 83 Mile and Green Lake Road. There were some spots that crossed the highway but structure protection personnel and the volunteer fire department were on site patrolling the area.

Heavy smoke continues to impact the highway. For the most up to date information on impacts to Highway 97, please check Drive BC.

Crews were working Wednesday to secure the area at 83 Mile on Highway 97, north of Bullock Lake Road and towards Davis Lake. Heavy equipment will be building guard in this area, while crews along with structure protection personnel will patrol the transmission line. Heavy equipment is working to secure the area in the vicinity of the Stormy Road north to the 3000 Road and continues to work on guard from Gustafsen Lake connecting existing road systems.

There are 14 helicopters available to continue to action the fires within this complex with bucketing activities. Structural protection specialists continue to support the residences and properties on Bullock Lake Road.

On July 17, 2021, the Thompson Nicola Regional District upgraded an evacuation alert to an order for the Flat Lake Wildfire Electoral E (Bonaparte Plateau) in the vicinity of Gustafsen and Neilson Lakes. The additional evacuation alert issued by the Thompson Nicola Regional District remains in place. The Evacuation order and alert issued by the Cariboo Regional District remain in place.

Chasm, estimated at 400 hectares:

There was no significant growth on the fire yesterday. Personnel and equipment have made notable progress on the south and east flanks. Crews are working on mop-up operations.

An evacuation alert has been issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

Young Lake, estimated at 2,631 hectares.

This fire is classified as “out of control.” Late Sunday afternoon, fire behaviour increased, and the fire pushed towards the northeast. Monday morning, a wildfire officer flew over the fire and constructed a plan. Six personnel were on site on Monday and again Wednesday, assessing and establishing structure protection on properties in the area. On Monday, airtankers were called to site, but were unable to action due to the heavy smoke in that area. The Cariboo Fire Centre is in the process of taking this fire over from the Sparks Lake Incident Management Team.

Purdy Lake, estimated at 8,000 hectares:

Crews have worked hard over the past several days, taking advantage of favourable conditions and making notable progress with fire suppression. Helicopters were onsite bucketing yesterday to support structure protection. BC Parks have been engaged regarding suppression in the Kluskoil park.

An evacuation alert has been issued by the Cariboo Regional District. This evacuation alert area now borders the evacuation order and evacuation alert issued by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako for the Grizzly Lake wildfire in the Prince George Fire Centre.

McKinley Lake, estimated at 1,834 hectares.

There was no significant growth Tuesday. Personnel and equipment have established guard around the entire fire and are now patrolling the edges of the fire and actioning hot spots. Personnel will be working to remove unburnt fuel between the main fire and established guards with small-scale ignitions when conditions allow. Crews on site are encountering challenging, steep terrain around McKinley Creek.

An evacuation alert issued by the Cariboo Regional District for Crooked Lake remains in effect.

Big Stick Lake, estimated to be 7,271 hectares:

Variable and gusty winds picked up in the late afternoon which, coupled with warm temperatures, led to fire growth past the perimeter around the north part of the fire, with the most activity seen on the northeast flank (around Long Lake along the Smoky Lake FSR).

Bucketing helicopters and water skimming aircraft worked the active parts of the fire’s head on the north side and cool hotspots to reinforce the fireguards. The fire received some light precipitation overnight.

Firefighters are running night operations in conjunction with heavy equipment to take advantage of cooler temperatures and higher minimum relative humidity to continue making good progress in key areas on the southeast flank (east of Highway 20). Firefighters and heavy equipment are working to reinforce the fireguards in critical areas around the fire, supported by structural protection specialists.

Highway 20 remains open to Bella Coola, though road crews are on standby to close the highway as needed based on wildfire activity or operations. Telus has completed assessments of the fibre optic lines will be done and has contractors working to replace the poles that were compromised by previous wildfire growth.

An evacuation order is in effect for the Big Stick wildfire area. This order replaces the evacuation alert issued by the Cariboo Regional District on July 10. An evacuation alert issued by the Cariboo Regional District has been expanded and remains in effect for the Big Stick wildfire area.

Hotnarko Creek, estimated at 1,500 hectares:

The fire has not crossed Highway 20 and demonstrated low-intensity fire behaviour yesterday. The fire received light precipitation overnight. Road closures may occur to continue supporting ongoing operations and to maintain public safety. Check DriveBC for updates. Firefighters are working along the north and east flank to contain the fire perimeter, supported by heavy equipment.

Summary of other wildfires

Quesnel Fire Zone: There are seven active wildfires burning in this zone. Three fires are now classified as under control and four are out of control.

Central Cariboo Zone: there are eight active wildfires burning in this zone. Three fires are now classified as under control and five are out of control.

Chilcotin Zone: There are five active wildfires burning in this zone. Two fires are now classified as under control and three are out of control.

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