Kamloops this Week

Updated: Evacuation order given as Kamloops wildfire grows to 200 hectares

A large plume of smoke can be seen from the city and the fire has closed Shuswap Road.

UPDATE: 4:10 p.m.

BC Wildfire Service is confirming the wildfire burning near Kamloops is estimated to be 200 hectares in size.

In just under two hours the blaze has grown nearly 140 hectares.

Persistent windy conditions continue to cause issues for firefighters on scene. BC Wildfire Service states all available resources are responding.

Paul Lake is being used by a water skimming aircraft, so all recreational boaters are asked to stay clear.

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UPDATE: Kamloops this Week

Early reports indicated the fire was moving uphill away from residences, but was spreading quickly. Videos posted on social media show the fire burning uphill and to the west, initially.

“The winds are pushing east, so it is highly visible in the community,” BC Wildfire Service information officer Marla Catherall said.

Fire crews said they could see smoke en route to the fire and there were reports of one residence threatened.

Wildfire crews were called out around noon as ground crews reported the fire had crested the hill behind the residences. Kamloops Fire Rescue was told that wildfire service air crews would respond as soon as possible and a five-person team arrived on scene around 12:30 p.m.

Mel Seymour lives at 820 East Shuswap Dr. and had come home for lunch when the fire started.

“I was just home five minutes. Walked in. Turned on the news, they said, ‘Oh, fire. East Shuswap.’ I looked out the window, it’s right on my land!’”

(Image: Kamloops this Week )

While he did not see what started the fire, Seymour said it took of quickly, with help from the wind. He noted the blaze was burning toward open grasslands on the bench above his house.

“If that fire gets into that grass, it’ll run,” he said. “Right down here it’s sage, you see it? That’s why it’s burning really good. Because sage just goes up like nothing. It’s pretty tall sage, too.”

Another resident in the area who lives in the Sage Meadows Trail mobile home park was packing up and leaving around 1:45 p.m. He said the fire was half a mile to a mile away from his home.

At around 1 p.m. wildfire service air tankers could be seen dropping retardant on the blaze.

Sun Rivers sent a notice to all residents just after 1 p.m. saying that the Tk’emlups Indian Band has issued a wildfire alert for properties along Shuswap Road.

Sun Rivers resident Mike Bielby said he could see flames from the parking lot of the Talasa apartments, where a group had gathered Thursday afternoon.

“You definitely see flames creeping up the mountain side,” he told KTW from the scene, noting flames along the front side of Mt. Peter.

Bielby said the flames were still kilometres from the resort community but the experience was “unnerving.” He had not packed bags nor been evacuated when he spoke to KTW but said he has mentally prepared a list of items he would grab.

CORIX Utilities, the company that handles irrigation for the Big Horn Golf Course, confirmed to KTW it would activate its irrigation systems as a buffer between the fire and the community as a preventative measure.

Assistant Fire Chief Steve Robinson said Tk’emlups te Secwepemc has set up an evacuation centre at Sk’elep Secwepemc School, located at 365 Powwow Trail, which is available to anyone displaced by the fire. While he could provide no exact number of residents evacuated, he said a trailer park on Shuswap Road was issued an evacuation order.

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UPDATE: 2:30 p.m.

The wildfire east of Kamloops has jumped to 60 hectares in size.

Fire information officer Marla Catherall says the BC Wildfire Service has 49 crews members on site or en route.

They are being supported by air tankers and a helicopter.

Shuswap Road is closed from Laforge west to the Yellowhead Highway until further notice.

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UPDATE: 1:30 p.m.

The wildfire east of Kamloops has grown to 20 hectares in size.

Fire information officer Jody Lucius says the BC Wildfire Service has 49 crews members on site or en route.

They are being supported by air tankers and a helicopter.

Fire origin and cause personnel have been requested to attend the scene and determine the cause.

Lucius says easterly winds in the region are pushing smoke into the Kamloops area and a lot of smoke is currently visible from within Kamloops and along Highway 1.

Flames are also visible from the roadway.

Shuswap Road is closed from Laforge west to the Yellowhead Highway until further notice.

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UPDATE: 12:40 p.m.

The BC Wildfire Service is now responding with ground and air support to the grass fire along Shuswap Road. They will asssit Kamloops Fire Rescue crews already on site.

Fire information officer Marla Catherall says the BC Wildfire Service has 29 personnel and air support responding.

The fire is currently estimated at five hectares in size.

Witnesses state the fire is growing quickly.

Shuswap Road is closed from Laforge west to the Yellowhead Highway until further notice.

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ORIGINAL: 12:10 p.m.

Kamloops Fire Rescue is responding to a grass fire on Shuswap Road.

The call came in around 11:45 a.m. Thursday for a grass fire behind residences at 830 Shuswap Rd.

Fire crews said they could see smoke en route to the fire and there were reports of one residence threatened.

Wildfire crews were called out around noon as ground crews reported the fire had crested the hill behind the residences.

Kamloops RCMP say that due to the grass fire, Shuswap Road is closed from Laforge west to the Yellowhead Highway until further notice.

“No traffic except emergency vehicles are allowed in this area,” says Cpl. Jodi Shelkie.

“No structures have been damaged or injuries reported from this grass fire. KFR are currently on scene.”

More to come.

With files from Kamloops This Week

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A grass fire has ignited east of Kamloops. Photo/Twitter/Kelly Mortimer

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