As thermometers continue to rise across British Columbia, the provincial environmental ministry has released a special air quality statement for the city of Kamloops and surrounding communities.
The statement from the B.C. Ministry of Environment says the area on the north side of the Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke after a blaze ignited early Thursday afternoon on the northeast side of Kamloops, about 250 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.
It warns that people with pre-existing health conditions, as well as infants, the elderly and anyone particularly sensitive to smoke exposure may be affected.
Jody Lucius with the B.C. Wildfire Service in Kamloops said Sunday she was not surprised to see the East Shuswap Road wildfire had grown overnight.
“The size did change (to) about 545 hectares, and that growth was the result of the burn operations carried out yesterday, so it was anticipated growth,” said Lucius.
She said that although the fire had grown, the amount of smoke it was producing was minimal given the size of the blaze.
“This is good news in regards to the special weather statement, which could change of course if winds pick up or fire activity increases.”
More than 100 firefighters were working on the blaze on Sunday, as well as two helicopters and four water tenders – specialized tanker trucks used to transport water to the scene of a fire.
Lucius said crews have successfully limited the wildfire’s growth by extinguishing hot spots within their 100-foot perimeter, and removing fuel sources that are dangerous for the crews to access.
“They’re making really good progress to ensuring no new growth, and that’s really good news for everybody,” Lucius added.
She confirmed that all evacuation orders and alerts in place due to the wildfire have been lifted.
The B.C. Wildfire Service said via their website that the cause of the fire is still under investigation.