A containment line surrounding the Harris Creek wildfire is now 75 per cent complete. (Lovanda Marie photo)

Crews work towards Harris Creek wildfire containment

Recommended closures near Sugar Mountain, Mabel Creek fires

A containment line around the Harris Creek wildfire is nearing completion.

“Crews continue to build a wide containment line around this wildfire and it is approximately 75 per cent complete,” the BC Wildfire Service said in a release Thursday, Aug. 9.

“Establishing this containment line will provide an option to burn to the guard if deemed necessary and also limits the spread of fire including west into a slide area and south into the Greystokes Protected Area (park). Crews are currently working in the south burning out fuels to increase the size of the containment line.”

Currently, the Harris Creek FSR wildfire is showing extreme fire behaviour due to ongoing high temperatures and low relative humidity. Resources are being reassigned to priority areas to minimize fire spread. Smoke is very visible from this wildfire. This wildfire has breached the established guard on the western flank and is spreading west towards McAuley Creek Road. Helicopters are currently bucketing in this area to minimize this spread.

As of Thursday night, 31 firefighters, eight helicopters, eight pieces of heavy equipment are working on the fire.

The estimated size of the fire is 260 hectares. However, the Service said their estimations are out of date due to smoke limiting visibility.

Related: Increased fire behaviour in North Okanagan

Sugar Mountain

For the purpose of public and responder safety, the BC Wildfire Service has recommended the closure of the recreation site near the Sugar Mountain fire on the northeast corner of Sugar Lake, along with the Kate Creek FSR access road.

As with the Harris Creek blaze, the Service’s estimation of 170 hectares is out of date due to smoke limiting visibility.

Currently, there are eight helicopters available and five pieces of heavy equipment.

“Currently the Sugar Mountain wildfire is showing increased fire behaviour due to ongoing high temperatures and low relative humidity. Resources are being reassigned to priority areas to minimize fire spread. Smoke is very visible from this wildfire,” the Service said.

Mabel Creek

“We have also recommended a closure to all recreation traffic from kilometre eight to kilometre 59 on the Mabel Lake Forest Service Road and the closure of all recreation sites along that road,” the Service said.

The closure does not apply to the residents in the Mable Lake Holdings community, nor other private residences along the Mabel Lake Forest Service Road.

“These closures are not due to fire threat but for road safety for our crews and industry partners traveling to and from the fires. This takes effect immediately,” the Service said.

Yesterday, there was active fire behaviour consuming green pockets of fuel and smoke was visible. This fire continues to be active and has crossed Mabel creek on the west flank. Operations staff are working to establish guards on the west flank to limit growth toward Mabel Lake. Smoke will be highly visible from this wildfire.

Crews are also establishing hoselay for wetlining along the south flank and are working to establish helipads where needed.

This fire is located in an area where there are heavy fuels and closed canopies that can be challenging if there are flare-ups. Steep terrain is also an issue and has limited some suppression operations in these areas.

Currently, the Mabel Creek wildfire is showing extreme fire behaviour due to ongoing high temperatures and low relative humidity. Resources are being reassigned to priority areas to minimize fire spread. Smoke is very visible from this wildfire.

As of Thursday evening, 15 firefighters, eight helicopters and seven pieces of heavy equipment are available to battle the blaze.


@VernonNews
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