Out-of-control blaze east of Merritt now 839 hectares in size, according to BC Wildfire Service

Merritt fire doubles in size

A wildfire near Merritt has more than doubled in size overnight, covering an estimated 839 hectares as of Tuesday, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

The blaze is close to Quilchena Creek, and was first reported Sunday. As of Monday, it was about 300 hectares in size.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, the fire is considered out of control.

Nicole Bonnett, a BC Wildfire Service fire information officer, said a combination of topography and fuel type has made this fire larger than others currently burning in the Kamloops Fire Centre region.

“It’s grassland mostly, and open range land, which means grass fires tend to spread pretty quickly,” Bonnett said.

"Rate of spread and direction are heavily influenced by slope and by wind, and we’ve had a little bit of wind in various parts of the fire centre over the last few days. So that played into it a little bit.”

Bonnett said there are 27 firefighters on scene, along with a helicopter that is moving gear for the crews and providing bucketing support.

On Tuesday, fire origin and cause personnel headed out to the site to investigate the cause of the fire, according to Bonnett.

“Right now, it is suspected to be human caused,” she said.

Another fire in the Merritt area, near Coldwater River, is estimated to be about 50 acres in size.

The BC Wildfire Service reports this fire is also suspected to be human-caused, and is under control.

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