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July 31: Elephant Hill firefighters make use of northerly winds

Over 500 personnel working on the fire now
Elephant Hill fire smoke column as seen on Saturday, July 29. Tom Turner photo.

9:20 p.m. update: Firefighters on the Elephant Hill fire were able to make use of northern winds today and do some controlled burns, says Fire Information Officer Heather Rice. A fire camp is now also set up in 100 Mile House and an Australian Incident Management Team, that had been working on the Princeton fire, has also joined the effort.

“It’s the first time we’ve had northerlies for a while and that helped them kind of push the fire back on itself.”

Some of the burns took place near Clinton as well as near Loon Lake, according to Rice. She says crews also continue to work around Mound Road.

“To the best of my knowledge, nothing was lost around Mound.”

Rice says there has been no significant growth since a run on Saturday and that crews are working 24 hours a day on the fire, hoping to take advantage of the nighttime conditions.

“We have over 500 personnel here now helping out here with this fire, whether it’s firefighters or equipment operators or helicopter pilots or support staff like myself. So we’re really putting a lot of effort into this fire and as I say working 24 hours with night crews in the evening being able to get bit of an upper hand on it because of course then it’s cooler and the winds tend to not be as gusty.”

Original story: There are 359 firefighters, 80 structural protection personnel, 86 support staff, 20 helicopters and 69 pieces of heavy equipment working on the Elephant Hill fire today according to Fire Information Officer Heather Rice.

“Some of those 69 pieces of heavy equipment are going to start to do what they can to build guards in that northeast flank of the fire, which is sort of the direction the fire is moving and sort of the most challenging area as far as the ground etc. and fuels are concerned.”

Related: July 30: Elephant Hill fire estimated at 78,548 hectares

There wasn’t much growth overnight according to Rice.

“I think things went fairly well overnight. Night crews were working to assist the fire commissioner especially in that area of Mound Road, northeast of Clinton, and we’ll continue to really focus on that area today because there are some values at risk in that vicinity and then also the crews are going to continue to work hard on those other priorities around Loon Lake and Hihium [Lake].”

The fire remains at 30 per cent with most of that containment at the south end of the fire, near Ashcroft where they were quite successful in having it not cross the highway according to Rice.