Petit Creek blaze estimated at 100 hectares, according to BC Wildfire Service

Wildfire still at 100 hectares

UPDATE: 2:25 p.m.

The Petit Creek wildfire remains at 100 hectares in size, as dozens of crew members work to create a perimeter around the area, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

Gagan Lidhran, fire information officer with the wildfire service, said there are 37 BC Wildfire Service personnel, two pieces of heavy equipment and two helicopters on scene Monday.

“Heavy equipment is continuing to create ground access for crews, as well as developing a guard on sections of the fire perimeter,” Lidhran said.

“Our crews are performing small scale hand ignitions to remove unburned fuel between the fire perimeter and control lines, and constructing a handguard as well, on the southwest perimeter of the fire.”

Lidhran said winds aren’t as high Monday, which is helping fire crews.

“Yesterday, the high winds were particularly a reason why this fire got so out of hand,” she said.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation, but Lidhran said all fires at this time of year are suspected to be human-caused.

She said the BC Wildfire Service is urging the public to be cautious of any type of fire activity they are conducting over the next couple of weeks.

“We aren't forecasted to see precipitation, at least short term, in the next couple of days. And that's really going to influence wildfire risk in the region,” Lidhran said.

“Even though it is early April, this is a great example to showcase there is still a significant fire risk in the region.”

ORIGINAL: 10:31 a.m.

A wildfire northwest of Merritt that has dozens of properties on evacuation alert is now estimated to be 100 hectares in size, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

On Sunday night, the Petit Creek fire had been listed at 50 hectares.

Gagan Lidhran, fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, said the size of the blaze was initially difficult to determine because ground crews had trouble accessing the area.

“At that time, we were relying on helicopters to get an accurate estimation of the size,” Lidhran said.

“Once they arrived on scene, they did a general mapping of the fire, and then we were able to update it to 100 hectares in size,” she said.

The fire, located 18 kilometres northwest of Merritt, was discovered Sunday, and caused the Thompson-Nicola Regional District to issue evacuation alerts for properties in Canford and the Miller Estates subdivision.

In a social media post, the BC Wildfire Service said 23 crew members were on site Sunday, supported by two helicopters.

The wildfire service said the size of the fire has been influenced by wind in the area.

“Due to limited ground access, one piece of heavy equipment was on site working to open up road access for ground crews. Eight BCWS personnel will remain on site overnight,” the post said.

A second wildfire, near Buck Ridge, is also burning nearby. At this time, BC Wildfire Service estimates this fire is 0.5 hectares in size.

Both fires are believed to be human-caused.

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