Embleton Mountain wildfire now classified as being held, BC Wildfire Service says

Embleton fire 'being held'

The Embleton Mountain wildfire is now classified as being held, with no fire growth beyond its current perimeter expected, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

Fire Information Officer Ayden Coray said the fire is estimated to have burned 991 hectares of land.

The fire hasn't seen any new growth in the past 10 days, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

“Suppression action has been taken sufficiently, and it’s not expected to grow beyond its existing perimeters,” Coray said.

“Most of the fire is in mop up and patrol, so that is some good news from our team here.”

Coray said on Sunday, there are 30 firefighters working on the Embleton fire, along with four danger tree assessors, two pieces of heavy equipment and one helicopter.


New mapping estimates Lytton Creek wildfire has burned 50,944 hectares of land

Lytton Creek now 50,944 ha

According to new mapping from the BC Wildfire Service, the Lytton Creek wildfire has now burned about 50,944 hectares of land, with increased smoke and fire activity continuing to challenge crews.

The BC Wildfire Service said the fire has been active on the west side of Botanie Valley, “resulting in significant smoke and visible flame.”

In this particular area, the fire is heading to the north and west directions.

“While the fire remains largely at high elevations, there is some downslope progression both toward the Botanie Valley and toward the Fraser River,” the agency said.

“A machine guard has been constructed on the east side of the west ridge and helicopters continue bucketing operations.”

On the east side of Botanie Valley, ground crews conducted some controlled hand ignitions near Sleetlis Creek.

According to BCWS, ignitions were successful but some escapes did occur. Crews are planning on returning to this area.

Fire activity also continues on the west side of the Thompson River, near Goldpan Park.

BCWS said crews were not able to access the area earlier this weekend due to heavy smoke and visibility challenges. However, the agency said the smoke is blocking sun exposure in the area, which has slowed fire growth.

A control line is being established on the southeast flank of the fire, with heavy equipment continuing to work in the area, according to BCWS.

“Opportunities for controlled ignitions in this area continue to be assessed. Heavy equipment has begun to work on a contingency line further to the south,” the agency said.

BCWS said a structural protection specialist has also done an initial assessment for the Nooaitch community.

“Structure protection has been deployed and continues to be monitored in communities along the Nicola River from Shackan Indian Band to Spences Bridge," BCWS said.

According to DriveBC, as of Sunday morning, Highway 1 between Lytton and Spences Bridge is still open to traffic, but a travel advisory is in effect.

Motorists are advised to watch for traffic control and crews working in the area.

DriveBC said Highway 8 between Spences Bridge and Petit Creek Road — about 20 kilometres west of Merritt — is currently closed due to the wildfire.

Planned ignition at Young Lake wildfire a success, BC Wildfire Service says

Ignition at Young Lake fire

A planned ignition to help contain the growing Young Lake wildfire was a success, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

In a statement posted Saturday, the BC Wildfire Service said a large planned aerial ignition on the fire was completed Friday evening, when weather conditions were the most favourable.

“This ignition secured the containment line by removing the unburned fuel that remained. A crew remained on site overnight to ensure the fire did not cross the containment line,” the agency said.

The fire is burning approximately 35 kilometres southeast of 70 Mile House, and just north of the Sparks Lake wildfire.

The BC Wildfire Service said the planned ignition has also brought the fire’s edge to areas that are easier to access, allowing for better water delivery.

“Crews will be mopping up and actioning any hot spots that are found near the containment line," the BCWS said.

The planned ignition increased the size of the Young Lake wildfire, with 6,937 hectares now burned as a result of the blaze.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, there are 44 firefighters, 17 pieces of heavy equipment and one helicopter assigned to the fire.

An evacuation order is in place for about 103 properties, while an additional 231 properties remain under evacuation alert. For more information on properties affected, visit the Thompson-Nicola Regional District website.


City extends license for homeless shelter at Memorial Arena

Arena shelter extended

The city is extending supports at the Memorial Arena for the Kamloops homeless population.

Kamloops said it is supporting BC Housing to continue to provide urgent and temporary solutions at the arena.

The city owned recreation centre located on Victoria Street has been used as a temporary shelter facility since May of 2020, and on Tuesday, council unanimously voted in support of extending the BC Housing license until another shelter is set up.

According to the city, it is actively working with BC Housing to find and set up a new location for the shelter.

With hopes of providing alternatives for residents who use the arena, the city is said it will be extending the hours at other arenas in Kamloops, and are looking into using arenas in neighbouring communities, such as Logan Lake and Chase.

Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian said he knows this decision can be inconvenient for residents.

“We recognize the hardship this will cause for recreation groups in our community, particularly on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said noting that it was a necessary sacrifice. “To return Memorial Arena to recreational use without an alternative shelter location would result in many people being displaced into unsheltered street homelessness, which is not an option.”

The news of the extension comes only a few months after the 2021 Point-in-Time Count identified 222 individuals were experiencing homelessness in the city.

The current Kamloops shelter captivity is 130 beds, which means more than 90 individuals would not have access to these supports on any given night.

Michael Hewlett wins $500k prize

Early retirement for winner

A Sorrento man said he’s starting his retirement early after winning a lotto max prize.

Michael Hewlett won $500,000 playing the Extra in the Lotto Max draw on July 13.

He was in the Matchbox Smoke & Vape Shop in Salmon Arm, the same place he purchased the winning ticket, when he found out he had won.

Hewlett said an early retirement was the first thing on his mind.

“My first thought was that I don’t have to go to work tomorrow!” Hewlett said.

According to the half a million dollar winner, the prize means he can retire three years earlier than he planned.

Hewlett said his wife is also retired, so now their next adventure will be traveling cross country in style.

“We’re hoping to purchase a camper trailer,” says Hewlett. “I’ve always dreamed about traveling back to Quebec to see my family, and to travel to the East Coast with my wife.”

According to BCLC, so far in 2021, B.C. lottery players have claimed more than $22 million in winning Extra tickets.

Tremont Creek wildfire just 16 kilometres away from Logan Lake, District urging residents to spread evacuation alert awareness

Issues with Voyent app

UPDATED: 9:22 p.m.

The District of Logan Lake issued a press release together with the Thompson-Nicola Regional District on Saturday, stating that they have identified and acknowledged issues and concerns with the VOYENT App.

Updates as necessary will come from the district via their website (loganlake.ca), the District of Logan Lake Facebook page, the Digital Sign, and the TV Scroll.

The District noted that the Travel Route Planning is dependent on Fire Activity and EMBC Reception Centre direction.

"It is possible, in the event of an evacuation order, that residents will be asked to travel in different directions out of the community based on subdivisions and to avoid congestion," the release reads.

"Additionally, it is possible that some areas will be evacuated and others will not. We are planning a tactical evacuation dependent on real-time information."

Travel Route Evacuation Information and Reception Centre Registration information will be provided only in the event of an Evacuation Order.

A Message was also delivered from Mayor Robin Smith, which is unedited below:

In order to ensure that the entire community is aware of the Evacuation ALERT, the District of Logan Lake is asking you to please check in with your neighbours, friends, and family and to share this information. Logan Lake prides itself on a kind, caring community. We have watched this community come together, look out for, and help one another through the Pandemic. Please continue to care for each other. We understand that everyone is worried, help each other to remain calm and trust that the District of Logan Lake together with all the entities above are working tirelessly on your behalf.

ORIGINAL: 12:27 p.m.

Firefighters continue to see “vigorous fire behaviour” on the Tremont Creek wildfire, burning east of Ashcroft.

Friday night and through Saturday morning, the fire has grown in the east and northeast directions, through the Guichon Creek forest service road and into the western edge of Tunkwa Provincial Park. An evacuation order was issued for the park Friday.

The large fire is now estimated at more than 26,000 hectares Saturday morning.

“The fire is currently 16 kilometres northwest of Logan Lake and is moving in an easterly to northeasterly direction at a moderate pace,” the BCWS said Saturday morning adding that while Logan Lake is not facing an imminent threat, it's now under an evacuation alert.

More smoke may be visible from the fire Saturday, as fire behaviour is expected to increase.

“The visible increase in activity is along the southwest flank where unburned fuel within the fires perimeter, and along the active flank on the eastern and north eastern side, is currently burning,” the BCWS said.

“The fire continues to be extremely active on the south flank and will most likely continue to increase in size moderately along this flank. The northern flank of the fire from Barnes Lake to Walhachin has very minimal to no observed fire activity.

There are 54 firefighters working on the blaze Saturday, along with seven helicopters and 30 pieces of heavy equipment. An additional 15 municipal firefighters are working to protect structures in the area, with crews working through the night.

BCWS said it expects higher fire activity with in the perimeter of Flat Lake

Increased fire activity

The Flat Lake wildfire that has caused the evacuation of hundreds of homes, is excepted to see higher fire activity.

According to BC Wildfire Service, the blaze is expected to be more active over the weekend as the hot and dry weather continues in the area.

BCWS said that dry lightning is expected to move though the area on Saturday and into Sunday— which would only increase the fires behaviour.

The fire located 27 kilometres southwest of 100 Mile and west of Flat Lake is still classified as out of control, currently estimated at 45,526 hectares— up one hectare from yesterday.

On Friday afternoon BCWS reported aircraft operations were challenged by low visibility over section of the fire.

BCWS said crews will continue to mop up and secure areas around the east flanks, as well as work on hotspots as they pop up.

Sparks Lake fire now estimated 65,484 ha

Sparks grows again

The massive Sparks Lake wildfire located 15 kilometres north of Kamloops Lake continues to grow.

The still out-of-control fire is now estimated at 65,484 hectares in size, and it remains the largest fire burning in B.C.

According to BC Wildfire Service, the fire is expected to remain active along the northern flank, and continue to grow in the northeast direction, due to the hot and dry weather in the forecast.

As of Saturday, BCWS reported having 66 firefighters, 10 helicopters and 27 pieces of heavy equipment fighting the blaze.

Spread of COVID-19 in Kamloops area can be stopped with vaccines, masking: doctor

City spread can be halted

While rising coronavirus case counts are concerning for Kamloops’ medical health officer, she says recent measures implemented in Kelowna show health officials will take steps here if they are warranted.

Kamloops recorded 29 new cases of COVID-19 between July 18 and July 24, the most recent period for which data is publicly available. That’s a sharp increase from 11 cases the week prior and six the week before that.

“We declared an outbreak in the Central Okanagan and that was a result of drastically increasing numbers that we felt that more control measures were needed,” Dr. Carol Fenton told Castanet Kamloops.

“For the rest of the Interior, we’ll continue to monitor the numbers and, if we feel that more control measures are needed elsewhere in the Interior, we will also implement that.”

Fenton said further restrictions can likely be avoided if people in the Tournament Capital do two things — get vaccinated and wear a mask until immunized.

“If people do that, this transmission can probably be prevented,” she said.

According to Fenton, it’s not clear where people in Kamloops are contracting COVID-19. She said some of the cases could be “spillover” from Kelowna or other provinces.

Fenton said case counts are still important to monitor, despite the generally high vaccine uptake in B.C.

“I still care about the case count and so do my colleagues,” she said.

“Because if we have lots of circulating COVID, it means that our vulnerable members — so those who cannot get vaccinated or a vaccine won’t work as well for them — are basically in danger.

“So, here in the Interior, we have to keep a close eye on those case numbers, and we want to keep those counts down until we can get more people vaccinated and really prevent that spread.”

Fenton said she’s not sure what to expect regarding case counts in the weeks ahead, and heading into the fall.

“To be honest, this pandemic has surprised us all so many times, so I wouldn’t want to try to predict the future,” she said.

“But I do know that the data that we’re seeing shows that the vaccine, if you have both doses, works really, really well. So if we can get as many people as possible with both [shots], we will have less transmission.”

Kamloops girl, 10, goes into business selling mugs at farmers' market

Kamloops kid entrepreneur

A young Kamloops artist has found her calling as an entrepreneur— and she’s not even a teenager yet.

Every Saturday at the Kamloops Farmers Market, Mo’s Mugs and More is set up — usually accompanied by Mo herself.

The 10-year-old artist, Morrigan Sullivan — better known as Mo — had been learning about businesses in school when she came up with the idea to start one herself.

“She had come home with this project from school, where they were learning about doing businesses and she came home just on fire, ‘I need to start a business,’” Juli Harland, Mo’s mother, told Castanet Kamloops.

Mo said she’s always loved drawing, but the idea for mugs came from her sister.

“My sister made mugs for Christmas. And then I used that idea, after at school learning about businesses and I wanted to do business stuff,” Mo said.

Harland said Mo had always had an interest in art.

“She has been really creative and artistic since forever. I think she spends most of her time when she's relaxing with a pencil in hand or something,” Harland said.

“She's always drawing. So this was just sort of a natural kind of thing for her to get into at that point.”

Despite Mo’s natural artistic talent, Harland said she didn’t expect her daughter to go into business so young.

“She's really shy. So that part was a little surprising when she came home and she was like, ‘We're gonna do this, I need to do a business,’” she said.

But, according to Harland, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

“It was a little was a little surprising when she was saying, ‘I want to be an entrepreneur,’ but hey, I'm into it. I've had a few businesses in my lifetime. So I think it's something that everybody should try at least once,” Harland explained, adding that the farmers' market is the perfect environment for her daughter to grow.

“At the farmers' market and stuff, it really gives her the opportunity to break out of that shy shell a little bit and talk to people one on one.”

Mo said the inspiration for each mug has come quite easily.

“I just like to look at stuff, and [think], 'That’d look cool on a mug,'” Mo said, describing her creative process.

Mo said her mugs are very cool, making them perfect to put both drinks and plants in — just not at the same time.

While most local businesses have take a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, Harland said Mo’s Mugs and More may not have happened without all the stay at home time created by the pandemic.

“I would say probably that being in a space where we're at home a lot more, definitely gave us the opportunity to put more time and thought into what to do to kind of beat that boredom,” she said.

“So that that may or may not have had something to do with the creation of this.”

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