Oliver Creek Wildfire near Louise Creek August 18, 2023 (Photo by: Chu Chua Volunteer Fire Department - FB)

Oliver Creek Wildfire near Louis Creek now rated a Rank 2 slower spread at 7:35 p.m. August 18

As of 4:40 p.m. Saturday, August 19. BC Wildfire Services Coordinator, Shaelee Stearns, updated Black Press regarding the Oliver Creek Wildfire Fire # K22810 at Louis Creek near the District of Barriere. Ms. Stearns reports continued bucketing by one of the two helicopters on the fire area and the second is being used to transport equipment. The fire status is listed at ‘Out of Control’ and has grown to 17.4 hectares in size. Increased smoke is caused by the fire now being in heavier timber in hard to reach terrain. There is no current news on whether or not bombers can be expected again to drop retardant as they did on August 18, but they could be deployed when the fire is too difficult for ground crews to reach it due to difficult access. There are currently 13 BCWS personnel on the ground fighting the fire. There will be another update by Black Press before 8 p.m. August 19.

Fourth – BC Wildfire Services Updated Report: August 19, 2023 Fire #: K22810 ‘Exlou’ Louis Creek area ‘Oliver Creek’ Wildfire: At approximately 1:07:39 p.m. this fire remains out of control and is listed at 17.5 Hectares

Fire size is estimated and based on the most current information available.

Third – BC Wildfire Services Updated Report: 7:55 p.m. August 18, 2023 Fire #: K22810 ‘Exlou’ Louis Creek area ‘Oliver Creek’ Wildfire: At approximately 7:35 p.m. two fire bombers flew over the area dropping retardant to the relief of nearby residents. The fire is now displaying a rank 2 fire behaviour which indicates a slower rate of spread. Personnel are laying hose now for either bladder pumping or tank/tender. Difficult terrain.

Second – BC Wildfire Services Updated Report: 3:52 p.m. August 18, 2023

Fire Number K22810 – Oliver Creek Wildfire in Louis Creek area near Barriere, B.C.

BCWS reports that there are currently 6 BCWS personnel on the ground at this wildfire and 2 Helicopters bucketing water to the area. There were some initial water sourcing delays but crews have located a good water source and are establishing a 5 foot blackline around the perimeter to allow the firefighters to begin to work from the outside in towards the fire.

On August 17, 2023 a new out of control fire started in the Oliver Creek area and is visible in Louis Creek. The fire is listed as Fire Number: K22810 with lightning suspected to be the cause of this blaze, which is now known as the Oliver Creek wildfire.

According to Kamloops Fire Centre as of August 18 at 1:00 p.m., this new fire is estimated now at over 8.3 hectares by BC Wildfire Service (BCWS).

Fire Size is estimate and based on the most current information available.

The last update was noted at 12:22:45 p.m. on Friday, August 18, 2023.

A early morning photo shared to Facebook by Jill Hayward, TNRD Director for Area “O” (Lower North Thompson) currently lives just below the fire, shows the blaze clearly spreading across the mountainside the in the early morning hours of August 18.

During an interview with Black Press at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Hayward said, “My heart goes out to everyone being impacted by this unprecedented fire storm that is sweeping throughout our province. Please, to anyone who finds their property or residence on evacuation alerts, please take it seriously. Yes, some alerts are on for a number of days and eventually cancelled. But, sometimes an evacuation order can come within hours of the alert and you have to “now”! Everyone should have a grab and go bag and an evacuation plan familiar to all family members. Hopefully, you never experience it, but when you get an order to leave, do the right thing and walk out the door as quickly as you can with your family and pets because they can’t be replace. Everything else, no matter how important you think it is, is actually just stuff and in most instances can be replaced.”

Hayward and her husband Bob owned a large cattle ranch in Louis Creek that was in the direct path of the 2003 wildfires in the same area as the newest Oliver Creek fire burning now, and they lost their home – ranch to that devastating wildfire. Her advice to others comes from experience.

As of 1:45 p.m. on August 18, during the interview, Hayward reported the wind had suddenly picked up and smoke was increasing heavily across the mountainside where helicopters could be heard overhead still bucketing since morning and that she and her husband and dogs were ready to go with their R.V. loaded since 10 p.m. Thursday evening when they were first alerted to the fire above their ranch. Hayward also said that she had seen the Chu Chua Fire Department from Simpcw First Nation RAP Attack crew headed that way going fast place their place early on. She mentioned that the fire location would require them to go by foot quite a distance to reach it and praised the expertise of the crew.

The B.C. Wildfire Service website suggests the following when reporting a wildfire:

To report a wildfire or irresponsible behaviour that could start a wildfire in British Columbia, please call 1 800 663-5555 or (*5555 from a cell phone) as soon as possible.

Information from the public is crucial to the effectiveness of our response. If you can, take a picture of the fire and submit it using the BC Wildfire Service app (download in the App Store and on Google Play).

All calls are answered by BC Wildfire Service staff at the Provincial Wildfire Reporting Centre. Any information you can provide is helpful, however you can expect the emergency call taker to ask for details about the fire, such as;

• Location

i.e. Where is the fire? How far up the hillside? Closest intersection?

• Size

e.g. Metres? Hectares? Size of a house? Size of a football field?

• Rate of spread

i.e. How quickly is the fire spreading?

• Fuel

i.e. What is burning? Grass, bushes, trees?

• Smoke/flames

i.e. What colour is the smoke? Are flames visible?

• Threat

i.e. Are there any people or buildings at risk?

• Action

i.e. Is anyone fighting the fire?

• Campfires

If reporting a campfire, can you tell if it is wood burning or is it a propane campfire?