(BC Wildfire Service file photo)

(BC Wildfire Service file photo)

Wildfire near Merritt grows to 839-hectares

The blaze is located in the area of Quilchena Creek

A wildfire that sparked about 20 kilometres east of Merritt on Sunday is now considered out of control.

The blaze has grown to 839-hectares in size, since it started on April 4 in the area of Quilchena Creek.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, the blaze is predominately burning in grass, with a few sections of the fire burning in some steeper sections. There are 27 personnel on site and with aerial support from a helicopter for water delivery.

“Crews working on the southeast flank of the fire are being supported by helicopter bucketing operations and on the north flank of the fire, crews will be using small scale hand ignitions to bring the fire perimeter to natural containment lines this afternoon,” stated BC Wildfire.

Fire origin and cause personnel have also be deployed to the area.

While the fire is large for this time of year, it is not unusual to see grass fires during the spring in the Kamloops Fire Centre.

On April 2, a wildfire grew to 100 hectares in size near Okanagan Lake. The blaze broke out off Westside Road and quickly grew from 10 to 100 hectares, due to gusty winds.

In the South Okanagan, the Keremeos Fire Department battled a blaze in the hills near River Road, Monday afternoon.

The fire mostly spread on shrubs and grasses, but it did get into a nearby orchard where it consumed several older cherry trees and posed a risk of spreading to nearby buildings.

Fighting the fire was made more difficult by the conditions, with gusts of wind pushing the fire on.

In addition to the two bush vehicles, two engines and utility vehicles, the 21 members of the Keremeos Fire Department were joined by four members of the B.C Wildfire Service’s Penticton Forest Zone.

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