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Fire guard being constructed for Shuswap communities south of Adams Lake blaze

Area F director says next couple of days will be critical
Fire candling in the trees in the area of the Lower East Adams Lake wildfire on August 6, 2023. (CSRD photo)

Work is underway to protect communities south of the Lower East Adams Lake wildfire.

On Sunday, Aug. 6, the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) reported seeing minimal growth to the fire, last estimated to be 4,823 hectares in size. However, with persistent drought conditions and a change of weather in the forecast, the BCWS warned the fire has the potential to impact communities to the south, including Lee Creek.

In an Aug. 7 update on the fire situation, the Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP) said crews continued to work on building a fire guard to assist in protecting North Shuswap communities south of the fire.

“This guard is partially built on the south flank of the fire, but due to rugged terrain, it will still take more time for crews to complete,” said SEP, adding a BCWS crew was preparing to conduct ignitions on the south flank following the equipment line as part of the guard construction.

Electoral Area F (North Shuswap) director Jay Simpson said in addition to the fire break being constructed, there’s also a “Plan B” in the works. Meanwhile, he said the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) is making plans for Lee Creek and Scotch Creek should the worst happen.

“We’ve been told a number of times that BC Wildfire is very aware of the communities of Lee Creek and Scotch Creek, they know the population… they know our exit routes,” said Simpson. “Squilax-Anglemont Road is not the only one although it’s by far the best, so that’s going to be their goal, to make sure that road is protected to the fullest extent possible.”

Simpson said he was endeavouring to keep people informed of the fluid fire situation, using electronic means as well as word of mouth.

“There’s people in the community that I know have the ability to get the message out, or to talk to a lot of people – for instance Angela Lagore at The Hub,” said Simpson. “There’s people in there all the time so they’re able to get the message out.”

Despite concerns, Simpson credited the CSRD emergency operations centre and administrator John MacLean with doing a “whale of a job”, and keeping BC Wildfire on track and making sure that we’re getting the best out of them.

“BC Wildfire of course is doing what they do and I don’t know anybody that can do it better, ” said Simpson.

SEP said Monday that helicopters and structure protection crews were attacking hotspots upslope of properties along Rawson Road while maintaining structure protection systems in the area. Current evacuation orders/alerts are to remain in place and the situation is being re-evaluated daily.

“We’re fortunate that over the last couple of nights it hasn’t moved too far south,” said Simpson. “The next couple of days are going to be kind of critical because we’ve got this change of weather coming in, winds and potential thunder and lightning and not nearly enough rain.”

North Shuswap residents are being urged to prepare their properties for fire. Information is available from the CSRD FireSmart Program at and from BC Wildfire.

Read more: Evacuation alert issued for 85 Shuswap properties at Adams Lake

Read more: BC Wildfire Service sees success with controlled Eagle Bluff wildfire ignitions
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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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