This photo looking toward the McKinley Lake fire east of Horsefly was taken from the Black Creek Road at about 3:30 p.m. June 30. (Vikki Elzinga photo)

This photo looking toward the McKinley Lake fire east of Horsefly was taken from the Black Creek Road at about 3:30 p.m. June 30. (Vikki Elzinga photo)

McKinley Lake, Churn Creek and Big Stick fires keep crews busy

Fire near McKinley Lake has grown to 1,200 hectares

While the bulk of the wildfires currently being fought in the Cariboo are situated around 100 Mile House, there are a handful of active wildfires burning the Central Cariboo Zone of the Cariboo Fire Centre as of Wednesday, July 7.

The remote wildfire near McKinley Lake, east of Williams Lake, was estimated to be 900 hectares in size as of Tuesday, July 6. By Wednesday, July 7 the fire has since grown to 1,200 hectares.

According to information provided by the BC Wildfire Service, nineteen firefighters, an equipment task force team and two helicopters continue to suppress the wildfire. The ground personnel continue to work to establish access to the fire and engage in direct attack on the west flank.

The McKinley Lake fire is considered to be human-caused and was discovered June 30.

The wildfire in the remote Churn Creek Protected Area, which is a wildfire of note, is estimated to have grown to 1,287 hectares in size as of July 6. A controlled burn was planned earlier this week to prevent spread on the southern and western flanks of the wildfire.

Aircraft bucketed water onto the wildfire Tuesday, July 6 while ground personnel mopped up the southern flank of the incident.

There are 16 firefighters and one helicopter working on this fire, which was suspected to be caused by lightning July 2.

An evacuation alert has been issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) in Electoral Area E (Bonaparte Plateau) for two properties near the Churn Creek fire.

The fire north of Big Stick Lake in the west Chilcotin, which is also a wildfire of note, is at 85 hectares and is considered active but being held.

The cause of the fire, discovered Friday, July 2, is still under investigation and there were 21 firefighters and two helicopters fighting the fire as of July 6.

A machine guard is in place around 90 percent of the wildfire and ground personnel will continue to mop up the east flank.

An evacuation alert has been issued by the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) for the Big Stick area.

As of Tuesday, July 6 there were 123 fires in the Cariboo Fire Centre and 5,150 hectares total area burned.

There were currently 42 active wildfires within the Cariboo Fire Centre, as of July 4.

The fire danger rating in the Cariboo is currently mostly High across the centre, with some pockets of Extreme and Moderate.

Officials remind the public that it is prohibited to operate an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone within five nautical miles or over a wildfire.

“This is illegal and endangers our personnel, and we cannot operate aircraft when UAVs or drones fly through restricted airspace.”

Residents recreating on lakes in areas where there are wildfires are also need to be aware of aircraft using the water source to fight fires.

READ MORE: Deka Lake residents can return home


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B.C. Wildfires 2021Williams Lake