Fire near Cache Creek surpasses 100 square kilometres in size

By James Peters
July 11, 2017 - 9:53am Updated: July 11, 2017 - 12:49pm

CACHE CREEK, B.C. — Gusty winds over night have caused the Ashcroft Reserve fire burning in the area of Cache Creek to nearly double in size.

Fire Information Officer Ellie DuPont says a new mapped size shows the fire has eclipsed the 10,000 hectare mark.

"The fire we've had mapped as of this morning, it sits at 10,304 hectares," said DuPont. 

"Today, we've got more than 100 firefighters on it, eight helicopters and eight pieces of heavy equipment. So they're working hard up there putting line around the fire, wetting it and trying to starve it of fuel."

The fire destroyed the majority of the Boston Flats Mobile Home Park last week, as well as several structures at the Cache Creek Airport.

The Village of Cache Creek was evacuated on Friday, but there is no indication of any more significant damage to properties.

An evacuation alert was extended yesterday to include 56 more properties, the majority to the east of Cache Creek approaching Walhachin.

DuPont says wind has caused the fire to burn aggressively in recent days.

"It's quite a light fuel - there's a lot of grass and sage - so it burns very quickly with the wind. It went up one slope and then on the opposite slope, so it actually split. They've got two divisions that they're (staffing) with different firefighters, and they've got each one working in each area with their own strategies."

"It's calm right now, and it's overcast with smoke, but last night we had a lot of gusty winds."

On the positive side, DuPont says there are some safer areas for investigators to enter the fire perimeter and begin their work, however it is not yet safe enough to allow residents back in.

"The data collection will be coming in over the next few days. We do have a fire cause investigation officer that will be looking at it as soon as they have access. And we may have issues with a cell phone tower, the access being blocked off. So we're going to be working hard on that to get that fixed so we can keep in touch."

A guided, RCMP-accompanied media tour of the Boston Flats area has been organized for later Tuesday.

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