The B.C. Wildfire service said that cooperation from Mother Nature may help fire fighters stop any new growth on the 10,911-hectare Snowy Mountain wildfire overnight.
The blaze has been burning, uncontained, south of Keremeos, B.C. since mid-July, but last week exploded in size and is now estimated to be almost 11,000 hectares.
On Saturday, the B.C. Wildfire Service said fire crews were helped by favourable weather conditions: lower temperatures, a bit of precipitation and, on Saturday night, slower wind gusts.
The reprieve comes after a difficult night on the fire lines between Friday evening and Saturday morning, when the fire service said “several outbuildings and pieces of equipment” were burned up in the blaze within an evacuation order area.
“No one was hurt in the process and no primary homes were lost, so we can really give kudos to the hard work of the crews as well as the hard work of the Keremeos Fire Department,” said Fire Information Officer Claire Allen.
While the fire didn’t grow overnight, there was some growth on Saturday towards the U.S. border. The blaze is now three kilometres from American soil and expected to continue to burn southward.
Allen said the south flank of the fire is difficult for fire crews to access.
“It is very steep terrain, limited road access, and just given the aggressive fire behaviour that we are seeing, very difficult for us to get containment lines in there,” Allen said.
Watch Below: Global’s ongoing coverage of the Snowy Mountain fire.
Eighty firefighters on the ground are being supported by helicopters as they fight the flames.
“Crews will continue to work on the southeast flank to protect adjacent properties, and are also positioned on the north flank to tie the fire perimeter into rocky slopes to keep it from wrapping around the mountain towards the Keremeos area,” said the Wildfire Service in a Sunday morning update.
The Lower Similkameen Indian Band, 21 properties on evacuation order, will have an emergency social services reception centre open at 1420 Hwy 3 in the lower-level traditional healing room from 10:00 a.m. to noon.
Emergency operations staff at the Lower Similkameen Indian Band says 21 homes remain evacuated today in the Chopaka community and 13 homes are under alert due to #SnowyMountainFire #BCwildfire pic.twitter.com/TXYpqW1G3h
— Shelby Thom (@Shelby_Thom) August 5, 2018
The fire has also forced the evacuation of three properties in the Chopaka Bridge area of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. Meanwhile, hundreds of other properties remain on evacuation alert within the regional district.
Wildfires have also forced the closure of the nearby Cathedral Provincial Park and Protected Area.
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