Residents near Red Lake preparing for the worst as fire nears

By Chad Klassen
August 14, 2017 - 5:33pm

RED LAKE, B.C. — More than five weeks after igniting, the Elephant Hill wildfire is showing no signs of slowing down. 

The fire is now a whopping 168,000 hectare in size, and for the last several days has been growing in an eastward direction towards Kamloops, fueled by heavy winds.

According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, the fire is within 10 kilometres of Red Lake. It's near where Tim Cassidy lives. He is preparing if and when the fire comes to the Tranquille Valley. 

"Where the roadblock is, is about six kilometres from my house, so it is aways yet. But we're getting ready," he said.

Cassidy's place is about 10 kilometres from Red Lake, so there is some distance for the fire to go. But it can happen quickly and he has the tools he needs. 

"My water tanks are full, I've got my fire pump and hose ready to go," he said. "Sprinklers on the roof. Garden hoses everywhere. I've really been preparing since 2003."

With the rain over the weekend, fire behaviour on the fire's east flank, which is burning close to Deadman Valley and nearing Red Lake, has slowed a bit. 

"At last update, the fire had not moved beyond Deadman Valley," said fire information officer Jodi Lucias. "So that's good news for us as far as the movement towards Kamloops."

The fire's northern flank past Clinton is burning more aggressively, but the B.C. Wildfire Service says it too has slowed due a bit of moisture. However, it also experienced growth over the weekend.

"We definitely saw growth over the weekend, on Friday and Saturday with the winds we had from the south," said Lucias. "The fire did grow substantially to the north and northeast, and a little bit to the east."

Cassidy says he's not close to panicking --- only when he see flames will he take action. Even then, he may not be leaving if the fire comes that close, saying he would stay to fight the fire. 

Council to discuss KGHM-Ajax today