A car accident is said to have caused an aggressive wildfire that’s burning perilously close to a small town in B.C.’s Southern Interior.
The Two Mile Road fire is situated just two kilometres from Sicamous, which has an approximate population of 2,500 people.
The out-of-control fire is currently estimated at 130 hectares and is burning along the shores of Mara Lake, though BC Wildfire said it didn’t have an updated size as of Wednesday at noon.
As to how it started, the fire chief of the Sicamous Fire Department said a cube van clipped a power pole, with electricity then arcing and sparking the fire.
“When we arrived, there was about 300 feet of flames coming off the fencing and going up the hillside,” fire chief Brett Ogino told Global News, noting the driver was shaken, but OK.
Ogino said because the fire started on the top of a cliff, “we weren’t really able to do a whole lot action. The first thing we did was call BC Wildfire and give them good assessments as to what we were seeing.”
The fire is producing thick smoke, though there’s plenty of air activity over the blaze, with planes dropping retardant on both the north and south flanks of the fire.
Further, officials appear optimistic regarding the current conditions, stating current winds are favourable and the fire is moving northeast and upslope, away from the community.
BC Wildfire Service director on dangerous wind conditions and importance of being ready with an evacuation plan
Ogino, said his crews are working on structural protection while BC Wildfire crews reinforce fireguards.
Further, the fire chief is asking boaters to stay off Mara Lake, so as not to interfere with air support, and for people to stay out of the evacuation area so as not to become a liability.
Ogino also credited BC Wildfire, saying “their reaction was phenomenal. Very fast, crews were out very quickly, air support was out very quickly. It helped make the difference as to where we’re at right now.”
The mayor of Sicamous, Terry Rysz, told Global News that no structures have been lost, but added that if it weren’t for a quick response from firefighting crews, things would have been a lot worse.
White Rock Lake Fire growing towards Westwold, B.C.
The fire has spawned an evacuation order and evacuation alert, both issued by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, along with a highway closure.
The evacuation order affects approximately 300 properties and around 1,000 people within the District of Sicamous and area. The alert covers much of the rest of the district.
Highway 97A is closed from five kilometres north of Enderby to Sicamous (Emeny Road and Sicamous Creek Frontage, a distance of 28.2 km), though the Trans-Canada Highway remains open.
B.C. declares a provincial state of emergency due to the wildfires
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.