PRINCETON (NEWS 1130) – People living near Princeton have been told to be ready to leave their homes at a moment’s notice as a wildfire in the area continues to grow.
Forty-three properties are covered by the evacuation alert northwest of the community and along Highway 5A, including McCaffrey Lake, MacKenzie Lake, Dry Lake, Round Lake and Allison Lake Provincial Park.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen Emergency Operations Centre is working with the BC Wildfire Service to assess the situation at the Dry Lake fire.
— RDOS EOC (@EmergMgtRDOS) August 4, 2020
”Property owners will be given as much advance notice as possible prior to an Evacuation Order, however residents may receive limited notice due to changing conditions,” a bulletin from the RDOS reads.20200803_1700_Evacuation_ALERT_Dry_Lake
According to the BC Wildfire Service, more than two dozen firefighters are currently trying to gain control of the Dry Lake fire, which was an estimated size of 22 hectares as of Monday evening and likely caused by lightning.
“We had some successful skimmer operations yesterday (Monday),” Fire Information Officer Karley Desrosier tells Breakfast Television Vancouver. “There’s been no growth in that fire since yesterday (Monday) as well, and we have adequate resources on that fire. We are hoping for some success today and we are anticipating that things will go well again today (Tuesday) as they did yesterday with the resources that we have on that fire.”
(2/3) 29 personnel and 11 pieces of heavy equipment are being supported by 4 helicopters. Airtankers have completed their objective for the evening. The fire is currently classified as out of control. For further information please visit: https://t.co/FmlQZlLUOK. pic.twitter.com/4Lpm3pG6Lu
— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) August 4, 2020
Meanwhile, smoke can be seen around Harrison Lake as a 10-hectare fire burns there. It’s believed the wildfire — which is currently listed as “out of control” — was caused by a person, on Sunday.
Hot, dry conditions
Conditions have dried out in recent weeks as temperatures rose across the province.
“There hasn’t been more than a few traces of rain from Harrison to Princeton in over two weeks,” NEWS 1130 Meteorologist Michael Kuss says. “It’s also been hot with five days over 30 degrees. There is some light rain and cooler air in the forecast for Thursday which will help but it won’t be heavy enough to completely douse the fires burning in the region.”
More than 90 wildfires were sparked across B.C. over the weekend.
“For the most part of the 98 fires that started over the weekend, there are currently 41 fires burning. And of those 41, only four of them have grown beyond about three hectares,” Desrosier adds.
The cooler and wetter start to the summer helped delay the wildfire season, and more moisture is expected to help crews on the frontline.
“This week, going forward, we are seeing more of a cooling trend in the majority of the province, with the exception of a small area in the southeast, so that does give our crews the upper hand in battling those fires,” Desrosier says, adding the BC Wildfire Service will continue to monitor the situation and reallocate resources as needed.
“Despite what happened this past weekend, we are still significantly below average in terms of number of fires, hectares burned, and fires to date,” she explains.
Desrosier says B.C. had had roughly 600 wildfires by this time last year. So far in 2020, there have been more than 300.
“In terms of hectares burned, this point last year we were at roughly 12,000 and now we’re just hitting 800 hectares,” Desrosier says.