BC Wildfire crews are moving camp from Princeton to Keremeos to be closer to the Snowy Mountain fire. (submitted)

Wildfire crews focus efforts on north and south flanks of fire near Keremeos

Crews are currently assessing the size and behaviour of the Snowy Mountain wildfire

Update: Saturday, Aug. 11 8:30 a.m.

BC Wildfire Service crews are continuing to focus their efforts on the north and south flanks of the Snowy Mountain wildfire, according to incident commander Noelle Kekula.

Crews conducted a small burn in anticipation of the predicted thunderstorms, Kekula said, and the fire has grown overnight to the north, but still lies within the mapped containment area.

Wildfire service expected some growth, she said. The mapped 12,219 hectares posted on the Wildfire Service’s website is considered inaccurate due crews being unable to map the fire due to smoke, she said.

The fire is classified as out of control.

Original: Friday, Aug. 10

BC Wildfire crews are moving into Keremeos.

Noelle Kekula, information officer for BC Wildfire, said over the next few days residents see a lot of activity on Veterans Avenue between 7th and 9th streets as trailers and living quarters come into the area.

Smoke is heavy in Keremeos from the Snowy Mountain fire.(Photo Tara Bowie)

About 250 firefighters, pilots, and support staff will populate a green space/ parking area near the trail that runs through the village.

“It really becomes tent city,” Kekula said with a laugh.

Related: Update: BC Wildfire monitoring flare ups above K-Mountain in Keremeos

Since a command centre was established for the complex of fires burning in the Lower Similkameen, Snowy Mountain and Placer Mountain, BC Wildfire has been working out of their yard in Princeton.

Kekula said the move to Keremeos doesn’t indicate things about to get worse, but rather just “makes sense.”

“We’re moving the camp for logistic reasons. It’s really just because the drive. When we set it up it made sense to have it in Princeton because Placer was the larger concern. But now with the focus on the Snowy Mountain fire it makes sense to move it so crews are spending less time driving on the road,” she said.

The camp is expected to be fully operational Sunday.

At the time of this posting the Snowy Mountain fire was 12,219 hectares in size and listed as out of control.

Kekula said crews were up in the air Friday morning assessing the fire. With smoke over recent days, an update on size has not been possible.

A weather system is expected to come through the region sometime today or Saturday bringing with it cooler weather, but a high risk for lightning and wind.

Related: No B.C. region left untouched with 462 wildfires burning

Today, crews will continue to work the south flank of the fire where the burn-off occurred earlier this week near Chopaka.

Crews are continuing to work to secure the north flank and tie it into the rocky slopes a top K-Mountain. The fire did cross the set out perimeter lines and made it up over the slope west of Barrington drainage. The glow of the fire has been visible over the past few nights by residents in Keremeos.

Helicopters will continue to bucket the fire in this area and ground crews are on site.

Other crews continue their work on the east flank to mop-up and patrol along Chopaka Road. The fire remains to the west of Chopaka Road. The BC Wildfire Service is working collaboratively with the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources given the fire’s proximity to the border.

Related: B.C. wildfires 2018: Fire crews battle blazes across the region

Continue to check back for updates throughout the day.

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@TaraBowieBC
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