Structural protection units are on site Sunday near 70 Mile as a “precautionary measure” as the Flat Lake fire continues to exhibit increased activity in the area.
BC Wildfire information officer Roslyn Johnson said Sunday that crews continue to work on a containment line in the southeast corner, working with heavy equipment through difficult terrain.
“Access is a bit of a challenge in that area, so they are working to gain access to the edge of the fire,” Johnson said. “Late afternoon yesterday we did see some increased fire behaviour and some growth in the southeast corner, and smoke was visible from neighbouring communities.”
Movement towards Cunningham Lake, about 10 km northwest of 70 Mile, prompted structural protection crews to set up units in the area, west of Highway 97, efforts which will continue today, Johnson said.
There are currently 35 firefighters, 12 helicopters, 64 pieces of heavy equipment in place, in addition to the structural protection personnel.
The fire was most recently listed at 14,000 hectares, however, Johnson said
The Flat Lake wildfire continues to be “fairly active,” with growth primarily to the north Saturday.
BC Wildfire crews carried out successful aerial ignitions Friday on a small portion of the southeast corner, according to information officer Erin Bull.
“Crews were using controlled ignitions to bring the perimeter of the fire into a controlled area,” Bull said. “That enabled the skimmer group to support them and drop water along that perimeter.”
Bull said smoke would likely be visible from the blaze Saturday as increased behaviour to the north continues; at this time the fire is still listed at 14,000 hectares with the perimeter approximately five kilometres west of Highway 97.
There are currently 55 firefighters working on the Flat Lake fire, with 60 pieces of heavy equipment assisting and a “number of helicopters” offering aerial support.
“The helicopters are working all of the fires in the area, so they might not all be on one fire throughout the day,” Bull said.
While no immediate plans for future controlled burns are in the works, Bull said that the potential to undertake a back burn could happen “when conditions are optimal.”
“It’s proven to be a really effective way to help control that fire, so they’re constantly assessing the options for an ignition to happen,” she said.
About 1,074 properties from Flat Lake-Green Lake North remain on evacuation order. The District of 100 Mile House and some properties on Horse Lake Road, Sheridan Lake and in Lone Butte are also on alert due to the wildfire, 27 kilometres southwest of 100 Mile. An additional 50 properties, mostly north of Horse Lake, were put on evacuation alert Saturday afternoon.
Late Saturday afternoon, an additional evacuation order was issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District for properties in the Bonaparte Plateau region, near Gustafsen and Neilson lakes.