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(UPDATE: Aug. 25 @ 4:45 pm) – The Regional District of North Okanagan has rescinded the evacuation alert for properties in the vicinity of Bunting Road wildfire.
Those properties include the 3,300 – 17,000 block of the Mabel Lake FSR (Lumby Mabel Lake Road), including Cottonwoods.
Residents are reminded to keep up to date through their municipality, local governments and BC Wildfire Service.
(UPDATE: Aug. 25 @ 11 am) – The Bunting Road wildfire is now being held at 4,734 hectares.
The fire has seen minimal activity or growth since the beginning of August.
It was first discovered approximately 41 kilometres northeast of Lumby on Wednesday, July 7.
The cause of this remains under investigation.
At this time, the evacuation alert issued by the North Okanagan Regional District for the 3,300 - 17,000 block of the Mabel Lake FSR remains in effect.
There are 32 firefighters and four pieces of heavy equipment working on the fire today.
Crews working in the Tsuius Creek area, on the northern flank, will be actioning a hotspot that flared up yesterday.
They will also complete the contingency guard in the area.
On the western flank, crews will continue mopping up, establishing the 100 foot wet-line and extinguishing any hotspots they may find.
Crews are engaging in direct attacks on the fire’s southern edge.
(UPDATE: Aug. 23 @ 6:30 pm) – The Bunting Road wildfire continues to be estimated at 4,734 hectares.
There are 34 firefighters and four pieces of heavy equipment working on site today.
Crews continue to build a contingency guard near Tsuius Creek and a fire guard near the South Cascades Road.
BCWS explains that crews working on the western flank have made “significant progress,” near Mabel Lake.
As a result, the Regional District of North Okanagan has reduced an evacuation order to an alert for a portion of Mabel Lake FSR.
All properties on alert now include the 3,300 - 17,000 block of Mabel Lake FSR.
The RDNO reminds residents to remain ready to leave their homes on short notice in case the fire conditions change.
Crews working on the southern flank continued to directly attack the fire.
They also completed the planned 20 feet wet-line and are working to expand it to 20 feet.
Eight helicopters are available through the Shuswap Complex to support ground crews.
(UPDATE: Aug. 22 @ 9:15 pm) – The Bunting Road wildfire continues to show minimal fire activity.
The fire is still burning out of control at 4,734 hectares.
There are 34 firefighters on scene today with the support of nine pieces of heavy equipment.
Heavy equipment crews assigned to the northern flank continue to establish an additional fire guard near Tsuius Creek.
A fire guard is also being constructed on the southern flank near South Cascades Road.
The western flank, closest to Mabel Lake, continues to be held by crews.
The evacuation order and alert issued by the Regional District of North Okanagan remains in effect.
Crews continue to mop up along the fire guard that was built to protect structures – extinguishing hotspots as they go, upwards to 100 feet.
Direct attacks are ongoing on the southern flank of the fire and a 10 foot wet-line has been completed on the southwestern corner.
Danger tree assessing and falling and helicopter bucketing operations are ongoing.
(UPDATE: Aug.18 @ 2 pm) – The Bunting road wildfire continues to burn at an estimated 4,734 hectares.
Crews engaged in planned ignitions over the weekend and they continue to mop up the area.
There are 36 firefighters and 14 pieces of heavy equipment on site today.
Crews are working on the western side of the fire between established guards east of Mabel Lake, south of Torrent Creek and north of Mable Smyth Road.
“Heavy equipment is working in the north to establish an additional guard in the vicinity of Tsuisu Creek,” explains BCWS in today’s update.
Crews continue to secure the fire in the area closest to Mabel Lake.
Planning for future hand ignitions is ongoing for this fire.
Evacuation order for the 6,000 - 17,000 block of Mabel Lake Forest Service Road remains in place.
The evacuation alert for the 3,300 - 6,000 block of the Mabel Lake FSR also remains in effect.
Visit the Regional District of North Okanagan website to stay up to date.
(UPDATE: Aug. 15 @ 9:15 pm) – Fire activity on the Bunting Road wildfire continues to be minimal.
The fire is still estimated to be burning at an estimated 4,733 hectares.
There are 16 firefighters and eight pieces of heavy equipment assigned to this fire today.
“A small scale planned ignition on the westside between established guards east of Mabel Lake, south of Torrent Creek and north of Mable Smyth Road may occur today,” BCWS explains.
Crews continue to mop up the Aug. 12 planned ignition from the southwest corner to a pre-existing control line.
Direct attack operations occurred in the northern flank of the fire today to secure an established machine guard.
The evacuation order and alert issued by the Regional District of North Okanagan remains in effect.
(UPDATE: Aug. 11 @ 11:40 am) – The Bunting Road wildfire continues to burn at 4,733 hectares.
The fire originated 41 kilometres northeast of Lumby and the cause remains under investigation.
Today, there are 23 firefighters, 14 pieces of heavy equipment and eight helicopters available – which are being shared amongst the Shuswap Complex.
The guards around the north side were completed yesterday, Aug. 10.
A thermal scan was also completed yesterday to determine the location of hotspots in the western flank, which crews will work on extinguishing today.
A machine guard was successfully established along the western flank, closest to Mabel Lake, and a small planned ignition may take place in the area to remove unburned fuel.
“This will decrease the likelihood of the fire challenging the guards in this location if fire behaviour increases with the forecasted warm and dry weather this week,” explains BC Wildfire Service.
In the southern flank, crews are planning to engage in direct attack in areas where machines are unable to access and establish guards.
Crews are also planning for ignitions on the southern flank, as early as Thursday, Aug. 12.
“Control lines are being prepared with heavy equipment and crews, and helicopter bucketing will be used to create wet lines and reinforce the control line during and after the ignition,” notes the agency.
Smoke will be visible from surrounding communities as these operations commence.
The evacuation notices issued by the Regional District of North Okanagan for properties along Mabel Lake forest service road remain in effect.
(UPDATE: Aug 9 @ 11:00am) - The Bunting Road wildfire burning just 41 km northeast of Lumby, is now an estimated 4,733 hectares.
The jump in size due mainly to the Bunting Road wildfire merging with the Tsuius Creek wildfire yesterday.
Fire crews have been working with heavy equipment to establish machine guards directly on the fire perimeter to contain the north side, the work is being supported by helicopter bucketing.
There are currently 23 firefighters working with 12 pieces of heavy equipment to establish control of the fire. There are eight helicopters being shared between the Shuswap Complex.
The Shuswap Complex is made up of the Momich Lake, Hunakwa Lake, Crazy Creek Gorge, Bunting Road, Two Mile Road, and the Three Valley Lake wildfires.
Heavy equipment and crews have made progress on securing the west side of the fire near Mabel lake, crews worked to secure a control line and enforce machine guards with the primary objective to protect structures along Mabel Lake FSR, because of this Structure Protection has been removed from all structures in the vicinity of this fire.
The evacuation order issued by the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) remains in place for the 6,000 - 17,000 block of Mabel Lake Forest Service Road, including Cottonwoods and Cascade Beach Recreation Site.
An evacuation alert also remains in place for the 3,300 - 6,000 block of Mabel Lake Forest Service Road.
BCWS wanted to remind people of the dangers of entering the fire zone and said "Persons who drive into the active fire area create a safety hazard not only to themselves but also to the responders in this active work site. Please respect the firefighting efforts and stay clear."
(UPDATE: Aug. 7 @ 8:30 pm) – The Bunting Road fire received accurate mapping and is estimated at 3,847 hectares.
This fire continues to burn out of control.
There are seven firefighters, 12 pieces of heavy equipment and eight helicopters assigned to this fire today.
BC Wildfire Service reports that the wind picked up in the area and resulted in some growth in the south flank of the fire “but it was minimal.”
The agency is expecting that this fire’s behaviour will be reduced due to cooler temperatures and higher humidity in the coming days.
Crews have made progress on the western flank of the fire which is near Mabel Lake.
“Crews continue to secure a control line and enforce machine guards with the primary objective to protect structures along Mabel Lake Forest Service Road,” explains BCWS.
“Due to this, structure protection has been removed from all structures in the vicinity of this wildfire.”
The fire continues to burn in steep terrain, rolling up and down surrounding hills as it moves south.
The evacuation orders and alerts for properties on the Mabel Lake forest service road remain in place.
(UPDATE: Aug. 4 @ 3:20 pm) – The Bunting Road fire has not shown much growth in the past three days and remains at 4,932 hectares.
Today, there are eight firefighters and two helicopters working on this fire.
Crews continue to secure a 20 foot control line, reinforced with machine guards, to protect structures along Mabel Lake Road.
Recent precipitation has helped lower the fire behaviour to Rank one behaviour which includes, smouldering ground fire, no open flame, white smoke and a “creeping” rate of movement.
Visit this link to learn more about the different fire ranks.
BCWS reports that crews have witnessed people driving past the Mabel Lake FSR closures into the active fire area.
“Creating a safety hazard not only to themselves but also to the responders in this active work site. Please respect and obey this road closure,” stressed BCWS.
According to BCWS the fire continues to move up the steep terrain, which has “heavy” fuel types, and is making its way south.
The Mabel Lake FSR remains closed from kilometre 14 to kilometre 40.
The expanded evacuation order and additional evacuation alert issued by the Regional District of North Okanagan remains in place.
(UPDATE: Aug. 1 @ 3:15 pm): Crews from the BC Wildfire Service continue to fight the Bunting Road blaze.
According to the BCWS, the fire now sits at 4,932 hectares in size. It is still classified as "out of control."
"Fire crews have reported seeing people drive past closures into the active fire area, creating a safety hazard not only to themselves but also to the responders in this active work site."
"Helicopters have been grounded due to visibility from the heavy smoke in the area."
Evacuation alerts are still in effect. Heavy terrain and steep fuel means the blaze is mostly headed south.
A total of eight firefighters and two choppers are on scene. More to come.
(UPDATE: July 27 @ 5:30 am) – An evacuation order affecting properties around Mabel Lake has been expanded in response to the Bunting Road wildfire.
The Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) also issued an evacuation alert last night, alongside extending the state of local emergency.
The RDNO said it had expanded the evacuation order due to the "immediate danger to life safety."
In the original evacuation order, the following areas were affected:
The new order affects the following areas:
Residents of the affected areas are urged to:
An evacuation alert has also been issued for the following areas:
"An evacuation alert has been issued to prepare you to evacuate your premises, property or recreational site within the mapped area should it be found necessary," the RDNO said.
"Residents will be given as much advance notice as possible prior to evacuation; however you may receive limited notice due to changing conditions."
The Bunting Road wildfire was still estimated at 3,000 hectares yesterday.
BC Wildfire Service said it remains out of control and its cause is still being investigated.
In its most recent update, BCWS said it had 13 firefighters and two helicopters at the scene.
"The fire is burning hot and deep on steep terrain, sometimes creating rolling debris," BCWS explained.
(UPDATE: July 21 @ 10:45 am) – The Bunting Road wildfire (K41561) is now burning at an estimated 3,000 hectares.
The evacuation order for 18 parcels and approximately 66 properties on the east side of Mabel Lake remains in place.
Visit this RDNO webpage for more information.
The BC Wildfire Service is reporting that this fire is still burning out of control.
On July 19, crews were able to make some progress to hold control lines while constructing guards on the north and south ends of the fire.
There are six firefighters and one helicopter fighting this blaze and they are supported by industry with control lines.
NowMedia will update this story as more information becomes available.
(UPDATE: July 20 @ 11:30 am) – The Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) has issued an evacuation order for the 10,000-17,000 block of Mabel Lake Forest Service Road (FSR), including properties known as Cottonwoods.
The BC Wildfire Service updated this fire at 9:30 this morning and notes that, "this wildfire is currently classified as out of control. There was no change in size on the fire yesterday."
However, the fire is considered a risk to properties on the east side of Mabel Lake.
Residents in the area must leave immediately and will not have access to their houses while the order is in place.
RDNO says residents should follow these instructions to exit the area:
Evacuees are asked to register at the RDNO’s Office at 9848 Aberdeen Rd, Coldstream, BC V1B 2K9. Evacuees can also register online at ess.gov.bc.ca.
Visit this RDNO webpage for more information.
(UPDATE: July 19 @ 11:00 am) – The Bunting Road wildfire has grown to 600 hectares, however, the fire saw no growth between July 18 and July 19.
The cause of this fire remains to be under investigation and is still classified as out of control and a potential risk to structures.
There are now seven firefighters on scene and they are being supported by industry workers who are building a fire guard.
The evacuation alert for 10,000-17,000 block of Mabel Lake Forest Service Road (FSR), including properties known as Cottonwoods, remains in place.
Crews will also be working today to ensure control lines are held.
"Crews were able to make good progress on the fire yesterday, constructing guard on the north and south ends of the west flank, widening existing road ways and working on small hot spots in a plantation east of the fire," explains the BCWS website.
Visit this RDNO webpage for more information on the evacuation alert in place.
(Original Story: July 16 @ 5:20 pm) – The Bunting Road wildfire was discovered last week on July 7, but has only just been added to wildfires of note as it poses a potential danger to life and health.
The wildfire is estimated to be around 277 hectares and is located just 41 km northeast of Lumby.
There is currently one helicopter and six firefighters on scene with the assistance of heavy equipment and industry personnel.
Based on the recommendation from the BC Wildfire Service, an Evacuation Alert has been issued by the Regional District North Okanagan (RDNO) at the Emergency Operations Centre due to the wildfire on the east side of Mabel Lake.
#Evacuation Alert issued by Regional District of North Okanagan for Mabel Lake Rd (Mabel Lake Forest Service Rd) including Cottonwoods. Info & map: https://t.co/lTLFUsEUqn #BCwildfire pic.twitter.com/d5Pc1Is6vX— Emergency Info BC (@EmergencyInfoBC) July 16, 2021
The properties affected are known as Cottonwoods, which is the 10,000 block -17,000 block of Mabel Lake Forest Service Rd aka Lumby Mabel lake Rd.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
NowMedia will continue to update the story as information is provided.