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(UPDATE: Sept. 7 @ 10:20 am) – More good news from BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) – last night the agency classified the July Mountain wildfire as being held.
When a fire is held it means that “sufficient suppression action has been taken that fire is not likely to spread beyond editing or predetermined boundaries.”
The fire originated approximately 45 kilometres southwest of Merritt, west of Highway 5.
The cause is suspected to be lightning and it burned an estimated 19,080 hectares.
There are 107 firefighters, seven helicopters and six pieces of heavy equipment assigned to the fire today.
Crews will continue to patrol and mop up along Highway 5 and surrounding areas.
BCWS adds that “fire activity remains largely stable and objectives remain consistent.”
The remaining evacuation alerts issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District were rescinded, effective Sept. 6.
(UPDATE: Sept. 6 @ 4:45 pm) – The July Mountain wildfire continues to be estimated at 19,080 hectares.
The fire has not experienced any significant growth for almost 10 days.
The remaining evacuation alert issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District was lifted today at 3 pm.
The remaining Evacuation Alerts for 133 properties in Electoral Area “N” have been lifted to All Clear as the threat of the July Mountain wildfire in the area no longer poses an imminent risk to the safety of residents. #BCWildfirehttps://t.co/9JkHjZUXZ8 pic.twitter.com/qcTcPKt7nB— TNRD (@TNRD) September 6, 2021
There are 107 firefighters, seven helicopters and six pieces of heavy equipment working on the fire today.
BC Wildfire Service confirms that fire activity is remaining stable and crew objectives remain the same.
Crews continue to mop up near Highway 5 and properties in the Kane Valley and Brookmere areas.
South of Shovelnose Mountain, crews will continue danger tree falling.
On the west flank, ground crews will continue to work on hot sports west of the Coldwater River near the Kane Valley Road.
(UPDATE: Sept. 4 @ 7:45 pm) – The July Mountain wildfire has not shown any significant growth and BC Wildfire Service continues to estimate the fire at 19,080 hectares.
The lightning-caused fire continues to be classified as out of control.
There are 90 firefighters, eight pieces of heavy equipment and six helicopters on site.
Weather conditions peaked on Tuesday, Aug. 31 but BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) confirms that overnight humidity has increased significantly.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District downgraded an evacuation order to an alert for one property in electoral area "N."
Twenty-four properties were also downgraded to an alert, effective Thursday, Sept. 2 at 2:21 pm.
Crews continue to focus their efforts on mop up and direct attacks along the fire’s perimeter.
On the eastern flank, crews are mopping up from the fire guard near Highway 5 towards the south side of the Kane Valley.
“South of Brookmere Road, crews continue to reinforce containment lines, assess hotspots and undertake danger tree falling,” BCWS explains.
Along the western flank, crews continue to extinguish hotspots near the Coldwater River and the Kane Valley Road.
The BCWS update attributes the cooler weather to reducing fire behaviour which has allowed crews to initiate more direct attacks and progress containment lines.
(UPDATE: Aug. 31 @ 6:20 pm) – The July Mountain wildfire continues to see no significant fire activity.
BC Wildfire Service is estimating the fire to be “largely stable” at 19,080 hectares.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has downgraded an evacuation order to an alert for 58 properties in electoral area “N.”
Those properties include:
An evacuation order remains in effect for 25 properties which include:
An Evacuation Order has been downgraded to an Alert for 58 addressed properties in the Brookmere area. An evacuation order remains in place 25 addressed properties shown on the attached map. #BCWildfirehttps://t.co/3EmqzQW1GY pic.twitter.com/X1WONzj4xW— TNRD (@TNRD) August 31, 2021
There are 113 firefighters, 22 pieces of heavy equipment and 12 helicopters assigned to this fire today.
Crews are engaging in mop up operations, fire guard reinforcement and hotspot assessment on the eastern and western flanks of the fire.
Smoke is still visible from the Coquihalla highway and surrounding communities.
However, BC Wildfire Service explains that no aggressive fire behaviour has been observed for several days.
(UPDATE: Aug. 30 @ 3:40 pm) – The July Mountain wildfire continues to be considered out of control at an estimated 19,080 hectares.
BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) notes that “fire activity remains largely stable and objectives remain consistent.”
There are 101 firefighters, 22 pieces of heavy equipment and 12 helicopters on site.
Crews are supported by 20 industry personnel and managed by an incident management team based out of Merritt.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District rescinded an evacuation alert today to “all clear” for the Brookmere and Coldwater area.
The Evacuation Alerts in Electoral Area “M” (Beautiful Nicola Valley-North), and Electoral Area “N” (Beautiful Nicola Valley-South) for 135 properties, have been rescinded to all clear.https://t.co/TibYs24Xdl pic.twitter.com/QHZbZxYh3h— TNRD (@TNRD) August 30, 2021
An evacuation order was partially downgraded to an alert for 52 properties in the Brookmere area while another 83 properties remain on evacuation order.
Structure protection equipment will continue to be demobilized in Brookmere today.
BCWS explains that recent rainfall has helped but “the fire will remain active until a significant amount or extended period of precipitation occurs, due to the dryness of fuels.”
On the eastern flank mop up operations are ongoing between the established fireguard near Highway 5 towards the Kane Valley area.
Crews are reinforcing containment lines and removing danger trees south of Brookmere Road.
On the western flank, crews are extinguishing hotspots west of Coldwater River.
BCWS finished today’s update by confirming “heavy equipment continues to build machine guard upslope from the Maka Murray FSR.”
(UPDATE: Aug. 29 @ 5:30 pm) – The July Mountain wildfire continues to burn out of control at an estimated 19,080 hectares.
There are 94 firefighters, 22 pieces of heavy equipment and nine helicopters on site today.
Crews are supported by 20 structural protection personnel and 17 danger tree fallers.
On the eastern flank, firefighters continue to mop up from the fire guard to Highway 5 to the south side of the Kane Valley.
Crews are using direct attack methods from the highway to West Shovelnose Road.
Structure protection equipment is being demobilized Brookemre, Kane Valley and Kingsvale.
On the western flank of the fire, heavy equipment continues to extinguish hotspots near Seymour Lake.
BC Wildfire explains that “heavy equipment crews are working to establish a fire guard upslope from Fig Lake [and] Maka Murray FSR.”
The agency also reports that rank one and two fire behaviour is still being observed in some parts of the fire perimeter.
Evacuation alerts issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District remain in effect.
(UPDATE: Aug. 28 @ 5:30 pm) – The July Mountain wildfire has been remapped and is now estimated at 19,080 hectares – down from the 19,660 hectares recorded for the past week.
There are 119 firefighters, 22 pieces of heavy equipment, 20 structure protection personnel, 17 danger tree assessors/fallers and 14 helicopters assigned to the fire today.
Crews are focusing on suppression and mop up operations in the eastern flank of the fire.
BC Wildfire Service explains that “firefighters are doing direct attack on hotspots from Highway 5 to the area around West Shovelnose Road.”
The construction of control lines south of Brookmere Road and hotspot suppression in the western flank are ongoing.
A machine guard is being built from Coldwater River towards Fig Lake.
BC Wildfire Service reminds residents that Murray Lake, Kane Valley, Kingsvale and Brookmere continue to be active work sites and to allow crews to do their work safely.
The weather conditions have helped the July Mountain wildfire but it will remain active until significant rainfall occurs.
Visit tnrd.ca for information on evacuation orders and alerts issued due to this fire.
(UPDATE: Aug. 27 @ 1:03 pm) - Communities around the July Mountain wildfire have not seen any aggressive behaviour for several days due to cooler weather patterns.
Crews have determined after yesterday's rainfall, that more precipitation will be needed in order to make a difference on the fire as the area remains extremely dry.
The fire remains active at an estimated 19,660 hectares and is showing rank one and two behaviour, while smoke continues to show up in various parts on the perimeter.
Firefighters and heavy equipment, assisted by aviation resources, are focusing their efforts in the east division of the fire (in the Kane Valley, Brookmere, Murray Lake, Kingsvale, around Coldwater Road, and around Seymour Lake) to establish and complete control lines, and suppress hot spots.
This is what the hills look like after the July Mountain fire in BC’s southern interior…just one of MANY fires in the area this summer. #forestfires #devastation #powerofnature #BCWildfire pic.twitter.com/8XmqoJe2N9— karen (@agility2girl) August 26, 2021
Heavy equipment will also begin working to establish a guard upslope from Fig Lake.
BCWS continues to complete direct attacks on hotspots along Hwy 5 to the area around West Shovelnose Road, the road remains unaffected.
There are currently 83 firefighters, 22 pieces of heavy equipment, and 13 helicopters assigned to the wildfire.
An incident management team is now being shared between the July Mountain and Garrison Lake as part of the Cascades Complex, as well as 23 structural protection personnel.
A number of properties remain on an evacuation alert, find all up to date information on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District website
(UPDATE: Aug. 24 @ 6:30 pm) – Although the July Mountain wildfire has not seen any significant or “aggressive” fire behaviour, BC Wildfire Service is reminding residents and motorists that the fire is not extinguished.
The cooler, wetter weather pattern has helped suppression efforts but the fire is still considered out of control at 19,660 hectares.
Smoke is still visible across parts of the fire and rain was scattered but helped cool the fire a bit.
“Other areas still have quite a bit of heat deep into the soil layers due to the extreme drought codes that southern BC has been experiencing all summer.”
There are 76 firefighters (including 27 structure protection personnel), 26 pieces of heavy equipment and six helicopters assigned to the fire today.
BCWS stresses that the fire remains an active work site.
BC Hydro is in the area repairing damaged power lines and danger tree falling is ongoing.
“Structural protection crews have structural protection units (SPUs) installed out of various water sources with pumps/hoses/sprinklers set up.”
Air resources and ground crews will be actioning hot spots over the next few days as well.
(UPDATE: Aug. 23 @ 1 pm) – The July Mountain wildfire continues to burn at an estimated 19,660 hectares.
The lightning-caused fire is still burning out of control west of Highway 5.
Today, there are 49 firefighters, 27 structure protection personnel, 26 pieces of heavy equipment and six helicopters on scene.
The fire is being managed by an incident management team based out of Merritt and belongs to the Cascades Complex (which also includes Garrison Lake).
DriveBC explains a travel advisory remains in effect between exit 183: Peers Creek Road and exit 286: Merritt for 101.8 kilometres (6 km north of Hope to 1km south of Merritt).
Crews continue to focus their efforts on the eastern flank of the fire to establish and complete control lines.
These containment lines will be built in the Kane Valley, Brookmere and around Coldwater Road.
An evacuation alerts for 89 properties in the TNRD electoral areas “M” and “N” remain in effect.
(UPDATE: Aug. 18 @ 11:45 am) - There hasn't been much change in the July Mountain wildfire over the past 48 hours.
However, a new "high-level scan" of the fire over the past 24 hours has allowed the BC Wildfire Service to provide a new size update, which is 19,660 hectares.
It was previously mapped more than 1,000 hectares above that number.
"Fire activity has decreased in the last 24 hours, which will allow ground crews to more safely action the fire today," explained the latest BCWS update.
"Structural protection crews established in Brookmere and Kingsvale will continue their work."
Calmer conditions allowed official to reopen the Coquihalla Highway (Hwy 5) to traffic on Tuesday afternoon following a two-day closure.
However, anyone not travelling for essential reasons is asked to avoid the route and those who do drive Hwy 5 this week are urged to not make any stops during the trip.
There are currently 48 firefighters and four helicopters assigned to this fire.
More than 130 properties are on evacuation order, issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, while a number of properties are on evacuation order as well.
(UPDATE: Aug.16 @ 6:30 pm) - The new size for the July Mountain wildfire is mapped out to be an estimated 20,860 hectares, after aerial crews took to the sky after it merged with the Brook Creek wildfire.
This fire has seen significant growth in the northern and north eastern flanks after jumping the Coquihalla Hwy.
DO NOT travel to areas affected by #BCWildfires for non-essential reasons.— BC Transportation (@TranBC) August 16, 2021
People in those communities need to be able to evacuate, if needed, and access supports.
If you had plans, please change them. Instead, visit somewhere in BC your presence won’t strain local resources. pic.twitter.com/nikni3Urg8
Hwy 5 remains closed between Hope and Merritt.
Currently, there are over 130 properties on evacuation order for the July Mountain and Brook Creek wildfires, issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
An additional number of properties are currently on evacuation alert for these wildfires also issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
(UPDATE: Aug.16 @ 12 pm) – BC Wildfire Service is reporting that the July Mountain wildfire has merged with the Brook Creek wildfire.
The new estimated size is 8,000 hectares.
There are 52 firefighters assigned to this fire today – they are supported by an undisclosed number of helicopters and pieces of heavy equipment.
BCWS explains that the fire has experienced “significant growth in the northern and northeastern flanks.”
The wildfire continues to be in close proximity to Highway 5 with low visibility due to the wildfire smoke.
DriveBC is reporting that the Coquihalla is closed in both directions between Merrit and Hope with detours available through Highway 1 and Highway 3.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District issued an evacuation order for one property in the vicinity of the Brook Creek wildfire, effective Aug.15 at 5:20 pm.
Visit this link to stay up to date with all evacuation notices issued by the TNRD.
(UPDATE: Aug.15 @ 2:30 pm) – The July Mountain wildfire is now estimated to be burning at 7,476 hectares.
Today, there are 37 firefighters and three helicopters assigned to this fire.
BC Wildfire Service explains there are also contract personnel and an undisclosed number of heavy equipment working on site as well.
Resources are now being shared with the Brook Creek fire, which is burning five kilometres east in the Brookmere area.
BCWS notes that the south and northeast flanks, adjacent to Highway 5, of the fire have seen growth.
“This fire remains highly visible to the surrounding area, but the highway is not impacted at this time,” notes the agency.
An evacuation alert, issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, remains in effect for 90 properties:
5815 Brookmere Rd
872 to 933 Brookmere Station Rd
905 to 920 Caboose Lane
5340 to 5633 Coldwater Rd
5135 to 5147 Conductor Way
5120 to 5132 Engineer Ave
3040 to 3097 Figlenski Rd
440 to 1185 Kane Valley Rd
5105 to5152 Railway Dr
852 to 1016 Roundhouse Dr
Eight properties remains on evacuation order:
240 and 280 Busby Rd
3311 and 3505 Coldwater Rd
233 Gillis to 333 Gillis Rd
(UPDATE: Aug. 13 @ 2 pm) - There isn't a lot of news to report on the July Mountain, but it has grown to 7,000 hectares over the past 48 hours.
It's been a week since the fire jumped the Coquihalla Highway (Hwy 5), but it hasn't resulted in any road closures.
"Crews have tied in a control line to the highway and will continue to establish line," explained a BC Wildfire Service update.
"A machine guard has been tied into the highway with a retardant line and crews continue to reinforce the line on the north end of the fire."
The BCWS added that the fire has seen growth on the south flank and east flank along Hwy 5.
There are 18 firefighters, five helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment assigned to this fire.
Contract personnel are also assisting, the BCWS said.
(UPDATE: Aug. 11 @ 10:40 am) - The July Mountain fire 45 kilometres southwest of Merritt, west of Hwy 5 is now an estimated 6,567 hectares.
Crews have been able to tie in a cut block on the east flank of the fire into the northeast corner to help protect the fire from moving towards Murray Lake.
BC Wildfire Service continues to fight this fire with 31 personnel, two helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment. There have also been three BCWS personnel responding throughout the night, and contract personnel are also assisting on this incident.
Due to the weather conditions that the area has seen, there has been a decrease in fire activity. Which crews will be using to their advantage throughout the day.
BCWS has worked with the Ministry of Transportation, who have declared that Hwy 5 will remain open.
An evacuation order was partially downgraded to an alert on August 10 for some properties, while others still remain on order. Check on the Thompson Nicola Regional District website for details on which properties have been affected.
The Evacuation Order issued on Friday Aug 6 has been partially downgraded to an Evacuation Alert for 90 addressed properties in the vicinity of the July Mountain Wildfire. An Evacuation Order remains in place for 8 properties in the area. #BCWidfirehttps://t.co/rOkEngzWzn pic.twitter.com/4CJEDLg5Xe— TNRD (@TNRD) August 10, 2021
(UPDATE: Aug. 8 @ 8:00 pm) – The July Mountain fire is now estimated to be burning at 6,306 hectares.
There are 16 firefighters, two helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment assigned to this fire.
Crews patrolled the area overnight and reported that the fire did receive some rain.
Due to the decrease in fire activity, crews will use this to their advantage to fight the fire.
Crews continue to work on the east and northeast flank of the fire to reduce the spread towards Murray Lake.
DriveBC affirms that there is still a travel advisory between “Exit 228: Coquihalla Lakes Road and Exit 256: Coldwater Road for 28.3 kilometres (29 km south of Merritt to 9 km north of Coquihalla Summit).”
Motorists are advised there is low visibility in the area.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District issued an evacuation order for 25 properties on Aug. 6 and this remains in place.
(UPDATE: Aug. 6 @ 10:30 am) – The July Mountain wildfire has "jumped across" the Coquihalla Highway, BC Wildfire Service said this morning.
The agency has warned motorists to check DriveBC before travelling along the highway.
"The fire has seen growth throughout the night and has jumped across Highway 5," BCWS explained.
"Helicopters are responding to this excursion."
The fire, which was caused by a lightning strike, remains out of control and is estimated to be about 5,669 hectares in size.
"Crews have been able to tie in a cut block on the east flank of the fire into the northeast corner to help protect the fire from moving towards Murray Lake," BCWS said.
"Crews will continue to work on the northeast corner of the fire today while four helicopters support the ground crews."
In its update this morning, BCWS said it had 16 firefighters, two helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment at the fire.
"Contract personnel are also assisting on this incident," the agency said.
(UPDATE: Aug. 5 @ 1:40 pm) – The July Mountain wildfire, located about 45 kilometres southwest of Merritt, continues to burn at 2,000 hectares.
The fire was first discovered on July 13 and has been steadily creeping along Highway 5.
Today, there are 16 firefighters, two helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment on site.
BC Wildfire Service reports that there has been growth in the northeast flank of the fire which air tankers responded to.
“Crews have been able to tie in a cut block on the east flank of the fire into the northeast corner to help protect the fire from moving towards Murray Lake,” explains the agency.
Crew will continue to work on the northeast flank with support from air resources.
This wildfire remains one kilometre off the Coquihalla and BCWS affirms it is still not “immediately threatening” the road.
DriveBC reports that highway remains open.
The evacuation order issued by TNRD for 25 properties remains in place.
(UPDATE: Aug. 3 @ 6:40 pm) – The July Mountain wildfire continues to burn at 2,000 hectares.
The area received precipitation and cooler temperatures which reduced fire behaviour.
This helped crews with their suppression efforts.
There are 30 firefighters, two helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment working on this fire.
BC Wildfire Service reports that the helicopters engaged in bucketing operations today while ground crews continue to reinforce the guard.
The agency also reports that there has been no growth towards Murray Lake.
The Coquihalla fire is not immediately threatened by this fire, as it remains around one kilometre away.
Visit tnrd.ca for more information about the evacuation order in place, which is impacting 25 properties.
Visit drivebc.ca to stay up to date with road conditions.
(UPDATE: July 30 @ 12:45 pm) - The July Mountain wildfire has grown again, according to BC Wildfire Service perimeter mapping.
It is now estimated to be up to 2,070 hectares, but heavy smoke is preventing an accurate size update.
It remains out of control.
BCWS said the fire is still not "immediately" threatening the Coquihalla Highway, but it remains within one kilometre of the road.
"The fire [...] is currently moving parallel to the highway," the agency said.
In its latest update, BCWS said it had 30 firefighters, three helicopters and two pieces of heavy equipment at the fire.
(UPDATE: July 29 @ 10:20 am) - If driving the Coquihalla Highway (Hwy 5) is part of your weekend plans, there's a good chance you'll see smoke from the July Mountain wildfire.
The wildfire is now estimated at 1,870 hectares in size, around 600 hectares larger than it was mapped at on Wednesday, and is out of control.
While it remains within one kilometre of Hwy 5 and is "extremely visible" to motorists, the BCWS said it is not immediately threatening the roadway.
Evacuation orders remain in place from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District for 25 properties near the highway.
There are currently 30 firefighters, three helicopters and two pieces of heavy equipment assigned to the blaze.
(UPDATE: July 28 @ 5:40 pm) – The July Mountain wildfire did not see any significant growth and remains at 1,267 hectares.
Bucketing operations continue to support the north and east flanks.
BC Wildfire Service reports that Highway 5 is not immediately threatening Highway 5 and remains one kilometre away.
However, the fire is extremely visible from the Coquihalla as it moves beside the highway.
This fire is still burning out of control.
Today, there were 30 firefighters, three helicopters and two pieces of heavy equipment fighting this fire.
Crews are being supported by contract personnel, however, BCWS has not disclosed how many support staff are on scene.
The evacuation order for 25 properties in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District electoral area “N” remains in place.
(UPDATE: July 26 @ 10:20 am) - The July Mountain wildfire experienced more growth over the weekend and is now an estimated 1,267 hectares in size.
Although the fire started burning in a fairly remote area, it's growth has been towards the Coquihalla Highway (Hwy 5) and the east flank is now quite close to the major roadway.
"The fire is within one kilometer of Hwy 5, but was not immediately threatening (the road)," the BC Wildfire Service said.
Depending on conditions, the smoke has been visibly from the highway as you're driving on the east side of the summit.
An evacuation order remains in place through the Thompson-Nicola Regional District for 25 properties on the northwest side of the highway.
The BCWS currently has 20 firefighters, three helicopters and two pieces of heavy equipment assigned to the blaze, while 10 contract personnel are assisting as well.
(UPDATE: July 22 @ 5:20 pm) - The July Mountain wildfire has seen significant growth but due to limited visibility from the smoke in the area, accurate mapping has been difficult.
The fire remains at an estimated 760 hectares.
Many people are reporting heavy smoke coming from the top of the Coquihalla Highway (Hwy 5).
BCWS has confirmed that seven firefighters, along with two pieces of heavy equipment and one helicopter are on scene fighting the fire.
An evacuation order issued by the TNRD remains in place for 25 properties in Electoral Area "N."
The fire remains out of control and still considered an interface fire.
(UPDATE: July 21 @ 3:40 pm) - The July Mountain wildfire is up to 760 hectares.
The out of control fire is located around 45 kilometres southwest of Merritt, west of the Coquihalla Highway (Hwy 5).
Smoke remains visible from the highway as you head south along the highway around Larson Hill.
Although it's off the beaten path, the fire is considered an interface fire as it is threatening properties in Electoral Area N.
As a result, 25 properties remain under an evacuation order issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
There are only three BCWS firefighters and one helicopter actioning the blaze.
(UPDATE: July 19 @ 8 am): The July Mountain wildfire southwest of Merritt has grown to 400 hectares.
BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) said it believes the fire was caused by lightning.
An evacuation alert for 25 properties remains in place.
BCWS said in its latest update that it had one helicopter devoted to the fire.
It remains out of control.
(Original story: July 17 @ 5 pm): A wildfire southwest of Merritt has grown since first discovered on Tuesday.
According to the BC Wildfire Service, the blaze 45 kilometres from Hwy 5 is now at 185 hectares. It is classified as "out of control."
This fire is still 0% contained. An evacuation order is in effect in the area.
"The Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) has issued an Evacuation Alert for a total of 25 properties in Electoral Area 'N.'"
Just one helicopter is on-site today to map the area. It will monitor fire growth and provide further assessment.
NowMedia will update the story when more is available.
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