Smoke turns the setting sun red as traffic goes through the roundabout on Highway 5 in Clearwater on Friday evening, July 7. Lineups formed at the Shell station as people filled up their tanks in anticipation of being evacuated or having the power cut off. Clearwater Super Save stayed open long after their normal closing time to accommodate those wishing to stock up.

Little Fort fires expected to grow

Areas covered by evacuation orders likely to expand

Three forest fires near Little Fort are expected to continue to grow and the area covered by evacuation orders will be expanded.

That was the word from Debbie Sell, information officer with the Thompson-Nicola Regional District’s emergency operations centre in Kamloops, as of about 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Most of Little Fort and the Dunn Lake area were ordered evacuated Friday night.

The remainder of Little Fort north of Lemeiux Creek plus Hallamore Lake area were placed under an evacuation alert Friday evening.

Sell did not have a number for those affected by the evacuation order.

People from those locations were advised to go to a reception centre set up at the Legion Hall in Clearwater.

On a related note, the TNRD information officer asked that people wishing to make donations hold onto them until it is determined what items are required by evacuees and where items can be dropped off.

“We are receiving many calls from people wishing to donate items,” she said. “At this time, the priority is to register all evacuees and ensure that their basic needs of accommodation and food is taken care of.”

Although the cause of the three fires is still under investigation, they appear to have been the result of a dry lightning storm that went through the Little Fort area around mid-afternoon on Friday.

According to fire information officer Tracy Wynnyk at the Kamloops Fire Centre, as of about noon on Saturday Fire K20675, which at about four km on the Thuya Lake forest service road (southwest of Little Fort on the top of the ridge) was out of control. Crews were expected to be on scene during the day. There was one rotary wing aircraft (helicopter) and on fire response officer on the scene.

The two fires to the northeast of Little Fort, Fire K20666 and Fire K20706, were expected to grow together during the day.

There were three firefighters on the scene plus six structural protection people. One helicopter and one fire response officer were there as well.

 

A lowbed being driven by Leon “Binky” MacDonald parks next to the road north of Dunn Lake at about noon on Saturday as it waits for instructions.

Barricades block the road to the Little Fort ferry at its junction with Dunn Lake Road.

Map shows the area in and around Little Fort that was placed under an evacuation order Friday evening. Residences around Dunn Lake were also ordered evacuated.