Cooler temperatures and precipitation over the weekend and early this week have helped wildfire crews gain some ground on the 62,895-hectare Flat Lake wildfire, prompting evacuation orders and alerts to be lifted in the region.
But BC Wildfire officials warn that as temperatures are forecasted to rise this week, increased fire behaviour – and possibly the return of smoky skies – is likely.
“It has been fairly quiet, the cooler temperatures have definitely helped to dampen the fire activity,” information officer Nicole Bennett said Tuesday. “But it is starting to dry out again. Yesterday, we saw winds coming out of the north, northwest, which was good because it was pushing the fire back on itself, but it did result in some fuel finding in some of those green pockets in the interior of the fire. So there was some increased fire activity well within the (perimeter). That’s what we’re anticipating seeing over the next little while.”
As of Wednesday morning, all of the evacuation orders prompted by the Flat Lake fire had been lifted, with only the area in the immediate vicinity of the fire, including a small portion east of Highway 97 between 93 Mile and 70 Mile, remaining on alert. All other alerts – including 100 Mile House, Green Lake, Horse Lake, Sheridan Lake and 108 Mile Ranch – were lifted on the weekend.
Crews are still working to secure containment lines along the northwest corner. Bonnett said the decreased fire behaviour has made it safe for crews to work closer to the fire perimeter, which they will continue to do while conditions allow.
The Emergency Support Services centre in 100 Mile House has been reduced to on-call only, as the need for help has drastically decreased since the orders were lifted.
“Right now we don’t have anyone left in our area under our care. Everybody got to go home,” ESS manager Liz Jones said Sunday, noting help would still be available as needed. “We’ll be looking for people who are not in evacuation alert areas, who may have places to put animals in case people need to move out and have a place to put their critters.”
Anyone needing assistance from the 100 Mile ESS can call 587-645-4842, Jones said.
Orders and alerts have all been rescinded near the Canim Lake fire, now listed as “being held” and no longer a fire of note.
At the Young Lake fire, most recently measured at 6,937 hectares, BCWS is reporting low fire behaviour along the perimeter. Crews continue to mop up along the east and southeast flanks of the fire and air support is on hand to cool and report hot spots.
As orders and alerts are rescinded, Bonnett reminds residents that crews are still working in fire zones.
“It is still very much an active fire and an active Work BC site, with crews and heavy equipment and aircraft in the area,” she said. “Please be mindful of your speeds along the roads as you’re heading home.”
Bonnett also asked anyone seeking information to call the information line rather than fire crews.
“We don’t want to lose all the hard work that has been done by them being interrupted from what they are trying to do.”