Campfires cause Spahats forest fire

Human foolishness was the cause of a potentially serious fire that started near Spahats Falls

A crew and an excavator work to put out a fire that started on the weekend near Spahats Falls. Cause was campfires that were not put out properly. The blaze was located near 2.5 km on Road 80 past the former prison camp.

Human foolishness was the cause of a potentially serious fire that started on the weekend near Spahats Falls, according to Jim Jones, manager of Clearwater Fire Zone.

Two campfires were left that were not put out properly, as well as two debris piles were lit, Jones said. The fire likely started late the afternoon of Saturday Aug. 2, and burned all night before being actioned.

As of Monday a crew from Kurt Dodd Contracting plus an excavator belonging to Larry Tucker were trying to put it out.

“The local rain cells that moved through likely saved our bacon with Spahats. There was a lot of dead grass there,” the fire zone manager said.

Continued, if sporadic showers have allowed Clearwater Fire Zone to avoid the major forest fire challenges that are emerging in the rest of the Kamloops Fire Center as well as across the province, Jones added.

Compared with the rest of the fire center plus the Valemount area, there has been little lightning activity locally.

A lightning storm that moved through that Saturday evening caused a large number of strikes, particularly south of Birch Island, but no fires were found on the ground.

As of Monday, Aug. 4, Clearwater’s three-person Initial Attack crew was fighting one of two new fires in the Raft River Valley. A contract crew provided by Claude Poulin of Vavenby was to relieve the IA crew so they could move to the second fire in the Raft. Because the road to the second fire had been deactivated, the IA crew would fly to the second fire.

A single tree was reported to be on fire on the Hydro line next to the highway at Moonbeam Creek north of Blue River. BC Hydro had been advised and a forest technician was on his way to assess.

Also north of Blue River, there was a fire between Hellroar Creek and Foam Creek that had no crew on it. A rap attack crew was actioning a fire in the North Thompson headwaters, however.

Jones noted that, with so many forest fires burning in the United States and the rest of Canada, B.C. is running out of places it can get resources from.

He said the next step likely would be to bring in overhead management teams from Australia, where it is now winter. Jones served in Australia several years ago when wildfires there grew to extreme levels.

*Editor’s note: Some 80 Australians joined the firefighting effort in B.C. on Sunday, Aug.10, as the province continues to battle its busiest wildfire season since 2010.



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