Wind and heat have flared up fire behaviour on the Two Mile Road fire near Sicamous.
“Due to current weather conditions, the natural fire behaviour has become more active and increased visible smoke is a result of this,” the B.C. Wildfire Service reported at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11.
On the west side of the fire crews have made excellent progress on securing the flank above the community of Sicamous. Because of this structure protection has been removed from all structures. Crews continue to work on the south and north sides of the fire, wrapping around towards the east with machine guards and hand-cleared guards. Crews have been actioning areas of heat from the thermal imaging scan on the west side of the fire.
On the north side of the fire crews are creating guards and working inwards from the perimeter. Heavy equipment is supporting these efforts where terrain allows.
Heavy equipment began working on opening up access through the fire to gain access to the east flank for suppression activities on Wednesday, Aug. 11.
Evacuation Alerts remain in place by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. The alert area includes all properties within the District of Sicamous to the south of the Trans-Canada Highway, south of Stadnicki Road and east of the Sicamous Narrows and Mara Lake. It also includes areas east of Highway 97A south to and including the community of Swansea Point.
At this time, Highway 97A is open in both directions. A travel advisory in effect between Mara Heights and Mervyn roads for 4.3 kilometres (Sicamous). Road is open to traffic. Watch for traffic control. All through traffic cannot stop inside the noted area and must carry on due to conditions. The Trans-Canada Highway remains open.
BCWS has not closed Mara Lake due to the wildfire but ask for boater co-operation.
“When firefighting aircraft such as airtankers or helicopters are working on an active wildfire and picking up water from nearby lakes, they need plenty of room to manoeuvre to do their job safely,” BCWS said. “Recreational boaters or people using other watercraft who try to get a close-up look at these aircraft present a serious safety risk for air crews and anyone else in the area.
“This behaviour is extremely dangerous and interferes with the BC Wildfire Service’s ability to fight a fire, since a pilot cannot collect water when a boat is in its intended flight path. Such interference can reduce the effectiveness of fire suppression activities and pose safety risks to both the public and first responders.”
There are 45 firefighters and 17 pieces of heavy equipment actioning the fire. There are also helicopters available to support them.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Night security is in place to shut down Owl Head forest service road and Mara Heights.
At this time, the BC Wildfire Service is leading the wildfire response and the Swansea Point Fire Department is assisting, as required.