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(UPDATE: Aug. 26 @ 12:05 pm) - More of British Columbia's wildfires of note are being classified as "being held" and that now includes the Two Mile Road wildfire.
The 2,455-hectare blaze sparked near Sicamous on July 20 and had locals very nervous for a few days as crews did their best to divert it away from the town and Mara Lake.
With the contingency guard now complete around the Swansea Point community, the BC Wildfire Service has changed the classification of the fire as it's not expected to grow anymore given the current conditions.
All evacuation orders and alerts have been rescinded.
Fifty-seven firefighters and five pieces of heavy equipment remain assigned to this fire, and four helicopters are available through the Shuswap Complex, as crews continue work to mop things up.
(UPDATE: Aug. 23 @ 2:20 pm) – The Two Mile Road wildfire continues to burn at an estimated 2,499 hectares.
There are 69 firefighters and seven pieces of heavy equipment working on the fire today.
BCWS explains that the contingency guard along the Swansea Point community has been completed as structure protection continues.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District moved Sicamous to “all clear” on Friday, Aug. 20.
Swansea Point was also moved to “all clear,” effective today, Aug. 23 at noon.
BCWS crews have also completed the containment line from Skyline FSR to hummingbird Creek.
Mop up operations will continue in this area as crews clean up hotspots, working towards 100 feet.
“Some spots will be monitored due to the significant number of danger trees,” explains the agency.
On the northern flank, crews are also working to extinguish hotspots that are burning in steep terrain.
Guard construction has been completed at the head of the fire.
Danger tree assessment and falling will be an ongoing process in the coming days and equipment will be demobilized in areas where it is no longer necessary.
(UPDATE: Aug.21 @ 7:30 pm) – The Columbia Shuswap Regional District rescinded the evacuation alert for Sicamous, effective Friday, Aug.20 at noon.
Swansea point remains on evacuation alert and structural protection is ongoing.
The Two Mile Road wildfire has been estimated at 2,499 hectares since Tuesday, Aug.17.
There are 63 firefighters and 17 pieces of heavy equipment fighting this fire today.
Sicamous - The Evacuation Alert for the District of Sicamous is RESCINDED. Evacuation ALERT remains for Swansea Point. See CSRD website: https://t.co/zsBhEnkK9G https://t.co/tlZ3TaHPsJ pic.twitter.com/Dbwn1wOp85— Columbia Shuswap Regional District (@ColShuRegDist) August 20, 2021
Crews have completed the containment line from the Skyline FSR to Hummingbird Creek after the fire jumped a guard in the area earlier this week.
Today, they will continue to mop up hotspots along the forest service road and in the area near the creek, working towards the north.
Crews working near Sicamous Creek are also mopping up and patrolling and moving north towards the head of the fire, attacking hot spots as they are discovered.
Today’s BCWS update explains that “on the north flank of the fire crews and heavy equipment continue to tight-line where possible and line locating for equipment and crews to extend the containment line. This work is ongoing."
(UPDATE: Aug.18 @ 5:40 pm) – The Two Mile Road wildfire continues to actively burn at 2,499 hectares.
There are 55 firefighters and 20 pieces of heavy equipment assigned to the fire today.
Structural protection is ongoing for Swansea Point and crews continue to monitor the fire’s behaviour and movement near Sicamous.
BCWS says that “today crews and heavy equipment will continue to construct guard, extending lines and tight-lining where possible.”
The terrain continues to present a challenge to crews and heavy equipment continues to help build guards where possible.
BCWS has not closed Mara Lake due to this fire but is reminding residents in the surrounding areas to stay clear of water skimming operations.
“This behaviour is extremely dangerous and interferes with the BC Wildfire Service's ability to fight a fire, since a pilot cannot collect water when a boat is in its intended flight path.”
When recreational boaters get in the way of these operations they are also interfering with the overall fire fighting process and slowing down suppression efforts.
The travel advisory between Mara Heights Road and Mervyn Road for 4.3km remains in effect.
Visit DriveBC for more information.
Visit csrd.bc.ca for more information and to stay up to date.
(UPDATE: Aug. 17 @ 3:00 pm) – The Two Mile Road fire, located approximately 2km south of Sicamous, has grown significantly overnight.
The fire has grown an estimated 957 hectares and is now burning at 2,499 hectares.
It was last estimated at 1,542 hectares.
After almost a week of minimal activity, BC Wildfire Service explains that the fire “moved approximately 4km over night on the northeast corner, away from community and structures.”
There are 85 firefighters and 20 pieces of heavy equipment on site who have 10 helicopters available from the Shuswap Complex
BCWS is also reporting that “the fire jumped the guard that was in place, crossed Hummingbird Creek and then burned back up to the Skyline FSR.”
As a result of this jump, crews are working hard to reinforce structural protection in Swansea Point, located south of Sicamous.
Crews are also working on containment lines and tight-lining a contingency guard close to Swansea Point.
The western flank of the fire, above Sicamous, continues to be secured by fire guards.
Crews will continue to mop up hotspots while building and securing guards where the terrain allows.
There have been no changes to any evacuation orders and alerts issued by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
(UPDATE: Aug. 16 @ 7 pm) – The Two Mile Road wildfire, two kilometres south of Sicamous, continues to burn out of control at 1,542 hectares.
There are 58 firefighters and 20 pieces of heavy equipment assigned to the fire today.
Yesterday, BCWS observed an increase in fire behaviour (rank two and three) on the northern flank.
There was little growth in the northern flank overnight.
The south western flank, which has a lot of steep terrain, also continues to be an area experiencing steady fire activity.
“To increase containment and limit growth, crews are tight lining and establishing sprinklers along the edge of the fire perimeter,” explains BCWS.
Air resources are available to support ground crews if necessary – there are currently 10 helicopters available across the Shuswap Complex.
Crews made “excellent” progress securing the western flank above Sicamous.
Crews continue to mop up hotspots identified in the western flank and surrounding area.
Visit the Columbia Shuswap Regional District website information on evacuation notices.
(UPDATE: Aug. 14 @ 9 pm) – The Two Mile Road wildfire, 2 kilometres south of Sicamous, has seen some moderate growth.
BCWS is estimating this wildfire at 1,542 hectares, due to more accurate mapping.
It continues to burn out of control and the cause remains under investigation.
There are 58 firefighters and 18 pieces of heavy equipment assigned to this fire.
BCWS explains that the smoke helped moderate weather conditions which resulted in lower fire behaviour.
However, “there continues to be higher fire behaviour in the southwest.”
The smoke did impact the ability for air resources to help with suppression efforts.
Crews working in the southwest flank continue to make plans to establish a sprinkler line to prepare for hand ignitions.
“If need be, skimmers will work to aid ground crews in suppression efforts for this area,” affirms the agency.
Crews also continue to work on the south and north flanks building and reinforcing guard while they work eastwards.
Highway 97 is not impacted and BCWS hasn’t made the recommendation to close Mara Lake at this time.
The agency continues to stress the importance of ensuring waterways are clear when skimmers and helicopters are loading their buckets or aircraft.
An evacuation alert, issued by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, remains in effect for a portion of Sicamous.
(UPDATE: Aug. 11 @ 11:55 am) – There has been "no significant change" at the Two Mile Road wildfire, BC Wildfire Service has said.
Heavy equipment will today begin working on opening up access through the fire to allow for suppression operations on the east flank.
The fire remains out of control and is estimated to be 1,349 hectares in size.
Evacuation alerts remain in place.
"With the lower fire behaviour crews have been able to direct attack the fire perimeter," BCWS explained.
In its latest update, BCWS said there are 45 firefighters, 17 pieces of heavy equipment and eight helicopters available to work on the fire.
(UPDATE: Aug. 9 @ 2 pm) – The Two Mile Road wildfire continues to be estimated at 1,349 hectares.
Today, there are 55 firefighters and 17 pieces of heavy equipment assigned to this fire, with eight helicopters available for support.
BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) reports that there was increased fire behaviour on the northern flank during the hot afternoon.
“Crews have made excellent progress on securing the west flank above the community of Sicamous.”
Due to this progress, structure protection has been removed from all structures along the western flank.
Today, crews will continue working along the southern and northern flanks, moving east, to establish a fire guard.
“Yesterday, August 8th, crews began assessing and working to open up access through the fire to gain access to the east flank for suppression activities,” explains BCWS.
DriveBC reports that there is still a travel advisory in effect between Mara Heights Road and Mervyn Road for 4.3 kilometres.
The evacuation alert issued Aug. 3 by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is still in place.
(UPDATE: Aug. 6 @ 12:44 pm) - The Two Mile Road wildfire has increased in size, according to BC Wildfire's latest estimate.
It is now calculated to be 1,349 hectares.
The fire remains out of control and its cause is still being investigated.
BCWS said the increase in size is due to more accurate mapping.
"Crews are making excellent progress on securing the west flank above the community with the objective to keep fire high on the slope away from the community of Sicamous below," the agency explained in its latest update.
"Crews are securing flanks on the southeast from Hummingbird Creek along Hwy 97A to the northwest."
BCWS added: "Helicopter bucketing will continue to be utilized when visibility allows. If you see helicopters or other aircraft Mara Lake, immediately leave the area. Please respect the firefighting efforts and stay clear."
Hwy 97A remains open in both directions but a travel advisory is in effect between Mara Heights Road and Mervyn Road.
Evacuation information can be found here.
In its most recent update, BCWS said it had 54 firefighters, nine helicopters and 16 pieces of heavy equipment available to fight the fire.
(UPDATE: Aug. 5 @ 11:55 am) - Hwy 97A has reopened to traffic south of Sicamous.
The highway has been closed since the afternoon of July 20, 16 days ago, when the Two Mile Road wildfire sparked around 2 kilometres south of the town.
**TRAVEL ADVISORY**#BCHwy97A #sicamous, BC is now open to traffic with flaggers in place at Mara Heights Rd and Two Mile Rd. Through traffic cannot stop between that designated area due to conditions. @DriveBC #bcwildfires @TranBC #conezonebc pic.twitter.com/lXhPWhqrWl— AIMRoads (@AimRoads) August 5, 2021
It's been a harrowing two weeks for residents in the area and the fire remains out of control at 1,200 hectares, but its primary growth has been away from residences to the northeast.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has downgraded nearly all evacuation orders due to the fire to evacuation alerts over recent days.
Just six properties along Graham Road and the Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park on Hwy 97A remain under an evacuation order.
There are currently 58 firefighters, 10 pieces of heavy equipment and three helicopters assigned to this fire.
(UPDATE: Aug. 3 @ 3:05 pm) - The Two Mile Road wildfire, located just south of Sicamous, hasn't shown too much growth over the past week.
It remains at 1,200 hectares and the BC Wildfire Service said it's moving in a northeast direction up and away from the town.
According to the BCWS, the fire has barely seen any wind over the past week and a bit, which comes with both pros and cons.
Of course, the lack of wind means one less element fueling the fire's growth, but it means the smoke is not being pushed out, meaning poor visibility and a difficult time for firefighters trying to assess the blaze.
Making matters even more challenging for crews is that the fire is burning "in challenging terrain and fuel types."
Hwy 97A remains closed in both directions as it has been since the fire broke out on July 20.
Evacuation alerts and orders remain in place through the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, which you can learn more about here.
There are 58 firefighters, 10 pieces of heavy equipment and three helicopters assigned to this fire, but the aircraft have been unable to fly for several days due to the dense smoke.
(UPDATE: July 26 @ 12 pm) - An evacuation order in Sicamous has been partially rescinded.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) said this morning that the properties lifted out of the order are now on alert instead.
The areas affected are:
CSRD said the change came into effect at 10 am.
The evacuation order, however, remains in effect for the following addresses:
Residents of those addresses cannot return home at this time, the regional district explained.
It added: "All homes in the rescind area revert to evacuation alert status and residents must remain ready to leave their homes again on short notice."
BC Wildfire Service, meanwhile, still lists the fire as 1,000 hectares in size.
It remains out of control and its cause has yet to be determined.
In its last update, BCWS said it had 32 firefighters, three helicopters and 10 pieces of heavy equipment dealing with the fire.
(UPDATE: July 24 @ 5 pm) - Crews continue to battle a wildfire in the Sicamous area on Saturday.
According to the BCWS, the Two Mile Road blaze now sits at 1,000 hectares in size. It is still classified as out of control.
Evacuation orders remain in effect for the area. This blaze was caused by humans.
"Yesterday, air tankers and six water skimmers worked on the southern flank to cool hotspots and limit growth."
A total of 32 firefighters, three helicopter and 10 pieces of heavy equipment are on scene today.
NowMedia will update the story when more information is available.
(UPDATE: July 23 @ 10:45 am) - More growth has been mapped on the Two Mile Road wildfire, which is burning just south of Sicamous.
The BC Wildfire Service says that part of the updated size is due to more accurate mapping, but the fire has also seen a bit of growth as well.
Fortunately, it's been moving away from Sicamous and "crews are making good progress holding the guard with assistance from industry."
Evacuation orders remains in place for a number of properties within the District of Sicamous on the east and northeast sides of Mara Lake.
Other Sicamous properties on the south side of the Trans-Canada Highway are under an evacuation alert at this time.
You can learn more about those orders and alerts on the Columbia Shuswap Regional District website.
At this time, 33 BCWS firefighters, 10 pieces of heavy equipment and three helicopters are assigned to the fire to assist local fire departments.
(UPDATE: July 22 @ 5:48 am) - The Two Mile Road wildfire has doubled in size to 800 hectares.
BC Wildfire Service said in an update last night that the growth is due both to better mapping and spreading fire.
It remains out of control.
BCWS said: "Growth today was in a direction away from Sicamous and crews are making good progress holding the guard at the lower end of the fire despite gusts up to 35 kilometres per hour."
A new evacuation alert was issued by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District late last night affecting Swansea Point.
The community on both sides of Hwy 97A north to Sicamous is under alert.
CSRD said it was issued "due to the potential danger to life, health or property."
For more evacuation information related to the fire, head here.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
BCWS said it had four firefighters and 10 pieces of heavy equipment in its update last night.
(UPDATE: July 21 @ 3:30 pm) - The latest mapping from the BC Wildfire Service estimates the Two Mile Road wildfire, just south of Sicamous and east of Mara Lake, to be 400 hectares in size.
"The updated size is due to better mapping as well as growth on the fire," explained the BCWS.
Despite the growth, the District of Sicamous said earlier today that the fire is moving northeast and upslope, away from the municipality.
As a result, there have been no changes to the current evacuation alerts and orders issued by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
The BCWS currently has 36 firefighters assigned to the blaze, who are being aided by a pair of helicopters and 10 pieces of heavy equipment.
(UPDATE: July 21 @ 10:34 am) - The Two Mile Road fire is now up to 130 hectares, according to BC Wildfire Service (BCWS).
It remains out of control and its cause is still being investigated.
Homes nearest the fire were the subject of a tactical evacuation last night, the agency said.
BCWS added that there are 33 firefighters, 10 pieces of heavy equipment and support from local fire departments at the site this morning.
(UPDATE: July 21 @ 5:45 am) - Around 1,000 residents have been successfully evacuated from the Sicamous area as the Two Mile Road fire continues to burn.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) said a reception centre has been set up at the Sicamous Seniors Centre at 1091 Shuswap Ave.
CSRD said the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) was "actively and aggressively" fighting the blaze last night, with the assistance of local firefighters.
Meanwhile, Interior Health said it "proactively" relocated care home residents within the evacuation alert zone related to the fire.
Clients and residents were helped out of the Eagle Valley Manor by support staff.
They were taken to neighbouring communities, Interior Health explained.
To confirm a loved-one’s evacuated location, call: 1-877-442-2001.
The Sicamous Health Centre has been evacuated and will remain closed until further notice, the health body added.
It also said that the COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Sicamous has been cancelled.
"We are working closely with municipalities, regional districts, and the BC Wildfire Service to ensure precautions are underway to protect patients, clients, and residents," Interior Health added.
In its most recent update late last night, BCWS said the fire remains at 60 hectares.
It's still out of control and no cause has yet been officially determined.
The agency said it had 16 firefighters, five helicopters and assistance from local firefighters last night.
(UPDATE: July 20 @ 3:45 pm) - The wildfire burning just south of Sicamous along the east side of Mara Lake has grown to 60 hectares.
As a result, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District has extended the evacuation order north and it has now creeped into the municipality.
According to the CSRD, it affects "all residences within the District of Sicamous that lie to the south of the terminus of Sherlock Road, southeast of Cook Avenue, Gillis Avenue, Larch Avenue, east of Sicamous Narrows and Mara Lake and north of Sicamous Creek.
The rest of Sicamous that's south of the Trans-Canada Highway remains under an evacuation alert at this time.
BC Wildfire Service, District of Sicamous, Malakwa and Swansea Point firefighters continue to action the fire and the CSRD says crews "are making some progress."
The fire is suspected to be human-caused, supporting earlier reports that it was sparked by a crash along Hwy 97A shortly before 11 am.
Hwy 97A remains closed in both directions
(UPDATE: July 20 @ 2:05 pm) - The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has issued an evacuation alert for nearly the entire District of Sicamous in response to a new wildfire on the east side of Mara Lake.
Tactical evacuations were already underway for properties nearest to the fire, but now a widespread evacuation alert is in place.
It affects all District of Sicamous properties south of the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1), up to the eastern and western boundaries of Sicamous.
The CSRD said the wildfire, which is burning in the area of Two Mile Creek near the old Waterway Houseboat dock, "may pose a danger to people and property."
(UPDATE: July 20 @ 12:40 pm) - The BC Wildfire Service has confirmed to NowMedia that it is assisting local fire departments with a new wildfire burning two kilometres southeast of Sicamous.
Six BCWS ground personnel and "multiple helicopters" have been assigned to the fire at this time.
It's currently estimated at 10 hectares in size and is burning out of control on the east side of Mara Lake, directly above Hwy 97A.
The highway remains closed at this time, although DriveBC cites a "vehicle incident" as the reason for the closure.
Witnesses in the area have reported that the single-vehicle crash that closed the highway is what sparked the fire, but that has not been officially confirmed.
Aircraft will be using nearby water sources to aid their suppression efforts and the BCWS is asking people to remain clear of the area.
RCMP boats are already on Mara Lake ushering boaters away from the scene.
NowMedia will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
(Original story: July 20 @ 12:05 pm) - Crews are responding to a new wildfire that has sparked on the east side of Mara Lake, just south of Sicamous.
The fire ignited around 11 am and is already exhibiting aggressive tendencies, witnesses have said.
It’s around two kilometres south of Sicamous, near the old Waterway Houseboat dock and Two Mile Creek.
“The Sicamous and Swansea Point Fire Departments are on scene and are assessing the fire in conjunction with the BC Wildfire Service,” explained a tweet from the Shuswap Emergency Program.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District said a tactical evacuation of homes nearest to the fire is underway, while the nearby Sicamous Landfill is closed until further notice.
New fire just outside of Sicamous pic.twitter.com/lO1rBgL4YE— Jenn Stewart (@jenndbic) July 20, 2021
DriveBC has now confirmed that Hwy 97A is closed in both directions in that area, but cited a "vehicle incident" as the reason.
There are claims that the single-vehicle accident in the same area sparked this new fire, but those reports have not yet been confirmed.
NowMedia has contacted the BCWS and is waiting on more details about this new event.
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
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