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No ‘significant’ growth to Embleton Mountain wildfire last night

20 BC Wildfire fighters and four helicopters will battle the blaze today
 | July 12, 2021
An image taken on Sunday evening. Photo by Joel Barde.

Firefighting crews are hard at work on the Embleton Mountain Wildfire, with the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) reporting little growth in the size of the fire from last night to this morning. 

“From what we’ve heard this morning, there was no significant growth on the fire yesterday,” said Hannah Swift, a BCWS fire information officer who is now on site. 

Swift added the service has not updated the fire’s size since last night’s estimation of 290 hectares.

Today, firefighters face the challenging prospect of the fire continuing to make its way down the western side of the Whitecroft Valley. 

As reported last night by SPIN, over the course of yesterday the wildfire dropped about 150 to 180 vertical metres towards the valley floor from where it was in the morning, with some “fingers” of the wildfire reaching as close as 150 to 200 metres from the valley floor. 

The area where the wildfire is burning down the mountainside is approximately one kilometre from the northern most extremity of Whitecroft.

Swift said there are currently 20 BC Wildfire firefighters on site today. A large part of their work involves determining how they will go about fighting the fire and what equipment they will need to fight it, if the wildfire should reach any homes, she explained. 

The firefighters are being assisted by four helicopter’s today. Helicopter’s played a pivotal role in yesterday’s fight, dropping water on problem areas, such as the upper ridge area as well as the areas closest to the valley bottom. 

Swift said that over the course of today, helicopters will be directed by ground crew. 

“So as the heat of the day [develops] and fire behavior starts to increase, the crews on the ground will let the helicopters know where they need to work, which areas are most most crucial,” said Swift. 

The North Thompson area is currently under a heat warning from Environment Canada, lasting today to Wednesday. This includes above average daytime temperatures and elevated overnight temperatures will mean little relief from the heat.

Sun Peaks Fire Rescue was also on site and monitored the fire overnight and remained on site this morning.  Yesterday, they carried out protective work, such as watering down certain areas, as well as preparing for any potential fire fighting in the community.

As previously written in SPIN, Whitecroft and parts of the Heffley Louis Creek Valley are under an evacuation order, meaning residents of homes covered by the order must leave immediately.

This evacuation order covers 132 properties. 

Meanwhile, residents of homes surrounding Heffley Lake must be ready to leave immediately. They are subject to an evacuation alert, meaning they must be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. You can read more about their evacuation alert here. 

Yesterday, three additional properties in this area were given an evacuation alert: 6100, 6180 and 6289 Upper Louis Creek Rd. 

Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) was also put under an evacuation alert last night. Read more here. 

For up-to-date wildfire alerts and orders, you can check the TNRD’s website or download the VoyentAlert! app, a multi-purpose communication service used to send alerts to residents, businesses and visitors during critical events like fires or floods.

SPMRM officials are asking anyone who is not a full-time resident to refrain from coming to Sun Peaks at this time. 

The section of Sun Peaks Rd. from Whitecroft to Sun Peaks is currently open for travel to full time residents only. 

All key Sun Peaks Resort LLP mountain operations will remain closed today. You can read the resort’s statement on this here. 

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