Heavy smoke settles into the valley as wildfires continue to burn

Operations on the wildfires in the Kamloops Fire Centre are impacted by low visibility

As wildfires continue to blaze throughout communities in the Kamloops Fire Centre, clouds of smoke still hover over the valley.

A change in weather is the culprit for the looming smoke that has settled in, and crept into residents homes. The heavy smoke is also affecting BC Wildfire Service’s operations to extinguish the wildfires due to low visibility, some helicopters are grounded and accurate mapping is inaccessible.

Related: Smoky skies for today in the Okanagan and Shuswap

Another storm of lightning sparked 40 new fires in the Kamloops fire centre; 27 believed to be caused by lightning at this time. Investigators believe that others will soon be classified as lightning caused as well. There are 36 spot sized fires, less than 0.01 hectares which is typical of lightning storms.

The Gottfriedsen Mountain wildfire located west of West Kelowna remains at 550 hectares and experienced no growth overnight. The wildfire is now being reported as 75 per cent guarded and fire fighters were aided by some rain.

Related:Wildfire north of Okanagan Connector has no growth overnight

Snowy Mountain, 14 kilometers south of Keremeos, remains the largest wildfire in the region at an estimated 13,359 hectares.

“We definitely know it is still continuing to grow,” said Fire Information officer Noelle Kekula, adding they are putting the priority on parts of the fire that might threaten life or property. “Resources are really stretched right now.”

The BC Wildfire Service Incident Management Team is working alongside the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources due to the fire’s close proximity to the border.

Related:Fighting Snowy Mountain wildfire becomes international effort

Juliet Creek continues to burn at 600 hectares, releasing heavy smoke into the air. An evacuation order is in place for properties in the Murray Lake area. The smoke is impacting visibility for firefighters and operations.

At the Harris Creek wildfire, 16 kilometres south of Lumby is approximately 508 hectares. The containment line has been completed to limit the spread to the west and into a slide are south into the Graystokes Provincial Park. Crews continue to mop up and extend their guards along the southwest side of the fire.

—-with files from Steve Kidd

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