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Winds expected to pick and increase fire activity at Adams Lake blaze

Forecast for next few days has blaze spreading northward
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The BC Wildfire Service said Tuesday, Aug. 15, that the Lower East Adams Lake wildfire was expected to move in a north-northeasterly direction. (BC Wildfire Service image)

Update: 5 p.m.

A wind event in the Shuswap region is expected to increase fire behaviour on the Lower East Adams Lake blaze.

The Shuswap Emergency Program has moved one of its Structure Protection Units to be staged at the Gateway Lakeview Resort entrance and another is staged at the Scotch Creek Lee Creek Fire Hall.

All evacuation alerts remain in effect, as does the evacuation order affecting Adams Lake Indian Band lands south of the Adams Lake Ferry Terminal.

A visible smoke column can be seen in the area, however, BC Wildfire said it should be moving away from Lee Creek given the forecasted wind direction.

“Fire behaviour will remain elevated overnight into Aug. 16 as winds are predicted to remain elevated. After dark, fire activity will become more visible to residents in the area,” stated the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD).

There are currently 43 firefighters, an aircraft and 18 pieces of heavy equipment working to complete the hand line on the southwest guard.

There will be continued patrols for hot spots this afternoon and through the night.

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While the Lower East Adams Lake wildfire area continues to expand, it is not expected to move towards communities in the North Shuswap.

Responding to concerns the fire, last estimated to be 6,505 hectares in size, had crossed a fire guard at the southeast end, BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) Information Officer Forrest Tower couldn’t confirm if it had, but said “there’s a lot of guards being built on that southern end.” However, as of Tuesday morning, Aug. 15, Tower said forecasts indicate the fire wouldn’t be moving further south/southeast towards Lee Creek and Scotch Creek. This was in part due to forecasted winds.

“It will… probably creep towards that direction over the next week or so, but not at any significant rate of spread or speed… it most likely will move pretty aggressively in a north or northeast direction, while it’s in those valley systems, and then outside of that valley system – with much less intense fire behaviour,” said Tower, with the caveat that this expectation is based on forecasts for the next three days.

Regarding the fire’s current size, Tower said an attempt would be made Tuesday to track the fire by air.

“If they can get right into that southern end then they will try to get us an updated track…,” said Tower, noting this may be difficult if it’s too smoky.

Read more: 200 firefighters from Costa Rica and Brazil helping with Shuswap wildfires

Read more: Viewpoint: Wildfire forecast disappointing but response commendable

Asked about firefighting efforts at Lower East Adams, Tower said a hand-line is being built to further protect the community on the fire’s southwest side at Adams Lake. Small scale ignitions may be used to clean up fuels close to the guard. On the western side, Tower said the BCWS is largely doing mop up and patrols.

On the south end, a machine guard was going in along the Lee Creek Forest Service Road.

“They’re working on making sure that gets built in anticipation that there might be some challenging fire behaviour…,” said Tower. “Having a guard there will be much better to work off of – even if the winds are kind of pushing it away at this point.”

Tower said the BCWS continues to work 24/7 on this fire, with night crews used to identify hot spots in areas they can access from the constructed guards and near structures. Also, a structure protection task force is conducting patrols.

“Primarily, it’s just a lot of groundwork at this point, working to increase containment,” said Tower.

To the west, the BCWS is close to containing the 3,061-hectare Bush Creek East wildfire.

“Last night they had 300 metres of guard that they still needed to complete on kind of the northwestern section…,” said Tower, explaining that when this is complete, there will be a machine guard encircling the fire.

“The next step going forward is just getting water and hoses into areas where we can pretty much go to direct attack and work on… extinguishing those perimeter edges,” said Tower.


lachlan@saobserver.net
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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market, and Eagle Valley News. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to keep our readers informed and engaged.
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