Snowy Mountain fire crosses river

Snowy Mountain fire crosses river

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The Snowy Mountain wildfire near Keremeos crossed over the Similkameen River last night. (Facebook/KeremeosBC)

Fire crews are hoping that today’s forecasted cooler temperatures and possible showers will help them tame the Snowy Mountain wildfire.

Firefighters have been busy overnight battling a spot fire on the Similkameen River bank in the Beecroft Road area in Keremeos after strong winds carried flames over the river.

The Keremeos Fire Department, along with 25 BC Wildfire Service firefighters, responded with heavy equipment.

The spot fire does not pose a risk to structures or communities, BC Wildfire Service says.

Currently, an evacuation alert is in place for 481 properties in Keremeos and Cawston, as well as Crown land in the Cawston area and the Snowy Mountain Protected area.

On Thursday morning, the BC Wildfire Service recommended a precautionary evacuation order for five properties within the Lower Similkameen Indian Band jurisdiction.

There are currently 60 firefighters, three helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment battling the blaze, now at 6,594 hectares.

The steep terrain is inoperable in some areas, and poses a safety risk to firefighting personnel, BC Wildfire Service says.

Crews are being strategically placed where it is safe and where suppression objectives can be met.

Structural protection specialists will continue to assess properties on the valley bottom, moving south along the Chopaka Road.

Ground crews will continue with Tuesday’s successful burn-offs on the fire’s southeast flank as safe conditions allow in order to stop the fire’s advance and protect adjacent communities.

Crews will be assisted by bucketing helicopters during daylight hours.

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