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Mass water delivery system being set up to protect Shuswap properties near wildfire

Size estimate for Lower East Adams Lake fire reduced
This photo of the south flank of the Lower East Adams Lake wildfire was taken from a helicopter at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 27, 2023. (BC Wildfire Service photo)

Work continues on protecting Shuswap properties from the Lower East Adams Lake wildfire should it move in their direction.

The lightning-caused fire burning on the east side of Adams Lake, 21 kilometres north of Chase, was downsized to 1,821 hectares on Friday, July 28.

As of 12:30 p.m.on Friday, the Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP) issued an update on the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) website about the firefighting effort at Adams Lake. It said a mass water delivery system had been moved into the communities affected by the Lower East Adams wildfire, and that the system was being set up and tested. This was in addition to Structure Protection Units also on stand-by in the area.

Close to 100 properties south of the fire have been on evacuation alert since July 20. SEP stressed the system being set up for their protection is “not in response to any imminent threat to the community.”

“The system takes time to set up, test, and reconfigure if necessary,” reads the SEP update. “Structure protection specialists are conducting advanced planning to be prepared if needed. This planning work can also be carried forward to be used in wildfire management planning in future years.”

SEP said due to recent cooler weather and previous helicopter bucketing efforts, there was no expectation of significantly increased fire behaviour on the southern flank, which is closest to the residences, though there may be increased smoke from the northwestern/western flank as temperatures increase throughout today and this week.

The fire is burning in steep terrain that is unsafe for ground crews. However, the BC Wildfire Service Incident Management Team was working with Interfor to create a strategy for machine guards on the northwest to northeast flanks where feasible.

SEP said heavy-lift helicopters have been engaged in bucketing operations as needed to reduce fire behaviour on the southern and eastern flanks, and FireSmart personnel were assisting residents in the evacuation alert area with assessing risk factors to their properties and how they can reduce those risks.

“Good examples are to mow your lawn, clean your gutters and remove combustible items away from your residence,” said SEP, noting more information is available on the CSRD’s website.

On Friday a .1-hectare fire discovered north of the Lower East Adams Lake Wednesday evening was reclassified as under control and not expected to spread any further.

Read more: 13-hectare wildfire burning south of Golden near Birchlands Creek

Read more: UPDATE: Over 150 properties can return home as crews continue to attack Kamloops wildfire
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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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