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B.C.: Firefighters bring Osoyoos wildfire to heel

Thursday, May 16th 2019, 6:20 pm - Though the fire expanded rapidly, controlled burns and shifting weather have helped firefighters in the struggle.

Firefighters have largely brought a wildfire near Osoyoos under control, not long after it roared to life and rapidly began expanding, and it looks like the weather has turned into an ally.

The fire was discovered Monday, apparently caused by a vehicle fire on Highway 3 that jumped to nearby grass, burning some 12 km west of Osoyoos. It rapidly spread, reaching an estimated 400 hectares in size by Wednesday.

However, by Thursday morning, firefighters had drastically changed the fire's fortunes, with a controlled burn of combustible materials that increased the fire to around 500 hectares, but succeeded in checking its spread.

BC wildfire service richter creek fire 14-05-19 Image credit: B.C. Wildfire Service.

"This controlled burn brought the wildfire down from the steep slopes to the established control line completed on Tuesday," the wildfire service said in its Thursday morning update. "As the fire is now in more workable terrain, the crews will continue with direct attack off the control lines."

The fire is being tended by more than 90 firefighters, supported by four helicopters, and is classified as being held. An evacuation alert for 13 nearby properties has been rescinded.

Osoyoos fire bc wildfire service Image Credit: B.C. Wildfire Service.

Though fire danger in much of the B.C. Interior was moderate to severe earlier this week, showers have brought it down significantly, and the rest of Thursday features some additional rain and light winds, though with some risk of an isolated thunderstorm.

"Due to the open fuel type in the area, the forecasted precipitation today will support ground crews with increasing the containment on the fire," the wildfire service says.


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