Heavy smoke in the South Cariboo is posing challenges for firefighters. (File photo)

Heavy smoke in the South Cariboo is posing challenges for firefighters. (File photo)

UPDATE: Planned ignition for Flat Lake southwest corner postponed

New mapping lists blaze southwest of 100 Mile House at 52,801 hectares

UPDATE #2: The planned ignitions for the southwest corner of the Flat Lake fire have been called off due to challenging visibility. A scan that took place overnight July 31 has the fire now listed at 52,801 hectares in size.

UPDATE: Unpredictable winds caused by a storm moving through the South Cariboo were partially to blame for the expanded Flat Lake fire evacuation alert issued by the Cariboo Regional District Saturday evening.

“We have a bit of a storm cell moving through the area yesterday and today, and we’re just watching to see what happens from a dry lightning perspective,” BC Wildfire Service information officer Nicole Bonnett said Sunday morning. “With that storm cell, the concern is those strong, convective down-gust winds that can be unpredictable.”

Increased fire behaviour on the north flank did occur Saturday, along with a few hot spots across the guard in the northeast section of the fire, which prompted the “precautionary” alert expansion to 108 Mile Ranch, 105 Mile and 103 Mile on the west side of Highway 97.

Bonnett said the excursions were contained by fire crews yesterday afternoon.

A “successful” small planned ignition took place yesterday on the south end of the fire perimeter, and crews are planning another larger-scale burn Sunday morning on the southwest corner if the conditions are favourable.

Poor visibility from the thick smoke in the area continues to pose a challenge for aircraft, Bonnett said.

“They’re working only where and when it’s safe to do so,” she said.

There are currently 61 firefighters and 35 pieces of heavy equipment working at the Flat Lake fire, with 17 helicopters on hand for the northeast fire complex.

Original: The Cariboo Regional District has issued an evacuation alert for properties in 108 Mile Ranch, 105 Mile and 103 Mile west of Highway 97.

The alert comes due to potential danger from the Flat Lake fire, southeast of 100 Mile House, most recently measured at 45,526 hectares. Property owners in the alert zone are asked to prepare to evacuate should the need arise.

An update from BC Wildfire Service Saturday afternoon noted that “convective winds” are causing increased fire activity on the north flank of the fire.

Evacuation alerts are already in place for 100 Mile House, Flat Lake west, 70 Mile, Horse Lake, Lone Butte and Sheridan Lake. A portion of Flat Lake-Green Lake is currently under evacuation order.

More to come…



melissa.smalley@100milefreepress.net

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