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Firefighters hold the line in Sorrento against advancing Bush Creek East blaze

‘We feel confident we can hold that fire there.’
Despite some overnight growth in the Sorrento and Turtle Valley areas, BC Wildfire Service fire information officer Mike McCulley said the Bush Creek East blaze was still around 43,000 hectares as of Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (BC Wildfire Service image)

Local and BC Wildfire Service firefighters held back the advancing Bush Creek East wildfire at Sorrento Tuesday night.

This was shared by BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) information officer Mike McCulley, who recounted the prior night’s firefighting activities during the Shuswap Emergency Program’s Wednesday, Aug. 30 afternoon update on the Bush Creek East wildfire.

McCulley said there was some overnight growth to the wildfire in the Turtle Valley and Sorrento areas, though the blaze is still estimated to be around 43,000 hectares.

“Last night… we had fire kind of grow down the hill in the Sorrento area…,” said McCulley. “Our ground crews… were working on a guard line here and the fire came down quite close to the guard, they worked this line to hold the fire, they did that with the support of the local fire department, they were working side by side with them, and CP Rail running along their line working on this spot as well.

“We feel confident we can hold that fire there. We did make some recommendation to move some of this area to order today just as a precaution. Clearly the fire is moving a little closer and that’s often due to the downdraft that comes through some of these gullies.”

McCulley said crews were ramped up and BCWS would be bucketing the fire in the Sorrento area throughout the day.

Next, McCulley touched on the fire front in Celista and Magna Bay, where guard lines were being constructed in an attempt to prevent wildfire’s advance from the west.

Read more: Shuswap Community Foundation offering grants for wildfire recovery

Read more: Evacuation order issued for Sorrento properties, firefighters spend night battling blaze

“We’ve now joined up with a contingent of community firefighters who have been working extremely hard there for a very long time, with ground crews and equipment,” said McCulley. “Our crews are now connected with them and in fact, hopefully those firefighters are getting a little bit of rest today… we’ve been glad to work with them. Certainly, they provide us a lot of knowledge on what the winds do in these areas and how they move down some of these canyons and what the land is like to work on.

“Today our crews will be in there continuing that work… and starting hopefully tomorrow, that local contingent will come back on line and we’ll continue to work side-by-side with them as we work hard to protect these communities north of Magna Bay and sort of northwest of the Celista area.”

Speaking to the North Shuswap, Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) Emergency Operations Centre director Derek Sutherland said the information about the location of waste bins are on the Columbia Shuswap Regional District website and more information will be coming about fridge and freezer disposal.

“For now, we’re not accepting fridges and freezers for disposal, however, we are making a plan and that will be available soon,” said Sutherland.

The emergency services reception centre at the 5th Avenue 50-Plus Activity Centre in Salmon Arm closes at noon on Thursday, Aug. 31, said Sutherland, to facilitate a move to the Fairfield Inn and Suites near the Jackson campus at 790 16 St. NE. The centre will reopen Friday morning at 9 a.m and operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It can be reached at 250-833-3360.
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