The Monashee Complex fires continues to burn near Lumby and Cherryville. (BC Wildfire Service photo)

The Monashee Complex fires continues to burn near Lumby and Cherryville. (BC Wildfire Service photo)

Crews taking advantage of minor rainfall to build guards on Monashee Complex wildfires

Heavy equipment used to create fire guards on four major fires.

Under the cover of some welcome rainfall, crews working on the Monashee complex wildfires east of Vernon are expanding fire guards, planning controlled burns and mopping up hot spots.

On the Harris Creek Fire south of Lumby, 106 personnel, 60 of whom are members of the Canadian Armed Forces are working on mop up and patrol around the fringes of the 700-hectare fire. Assisted by 10 pieces of heavy equipment crews are building a contingency guard on the fire’s east flank. A controlled burn to remove fuel between the current edge of the fire and the guard on the east side is planned, but will only be attempted under ideal conditions a said Fire Information Officer Shelley Zupp.

Thirteen pieces of heavy equipment are assisting crews with the creation of a fire guard on the west flank of the Mabel Creek fire, which is estimated at 1861 hectares in size.

Related:North Okanagan village says thanks to firefighters

A guard is also being constructed on the Sugar Mountain fire; the wildfire is estimated at 394 hectares in size.

Work continues on the Woodward Creek fire as 47 personnel and 15 pieces of heavy equipment do mop up work on the south and southwest flanks. Danger tree assessors are evaluating areas before crews enter them to assure their safety. Efforts to suppress the fire are assisted by air support. There are currently six helicopters assigned to battling the Monashee complex wildfires which can be used interchangeably on all 12 fires active fires in the complex. The helicopters can only be used when visibility due to smoke and weather allows. The Woodward Creek fire is estimate at 210 hectares.

Related:Work continues on Monashee Complex wildfires

Zupp said the rain falling on the Kamloops Fire Centre is helpful as it slows the fires down and allows crews to make more progress but it is far from enough rainfall to extinguish the fires or reduce the fire danger rating.

There have been 414 fires in the Kamloops Fire Centre this year and a total of 46,086 hectares have been burned.

Ninety-six fires are still active in the Kamloops Fire Centre down from a peak total of 101 reached on Aug. 23.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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