The wildfire smoke advisory for Kamloops was lifted Thursday morning as smoke from the Matthew Creek wildfire 50 kilometres south of Merritt started to dissipate.
“Although the weather hasn’t significantly changed, the amount of smoke being produced has changed,” said Ralph Adams, ministry of environment air quality information officer. “I’m sure my colleagues over in forestry have been dropping everything they can find on the fire, so it’s not surprising (air quality has improved).”
Now the region’s air quality returns to levels seen in the rest of the southern part of B.C., which means a heavy haze caused by wildfires raging in the Midwestern U.S. and Siberia. Although the haze too is improving, said Adams.
The Matthew Creek fire continues to burn over 155 hectares as 100 wildfire fighters, six helicopters and several pieces of heavy equipment work to keep it from spreading.
“The fire is still not threatening any structures, still not threatening any values,” said fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek. “Basically we’re just working to strengthen the containment line we already have in place.”
At press time, the blaze was 80 per cent contained while punishing terrain over the remaining 20 per cent was causing major challenges.
“It’s still a fire of concern and it’s really weather-driven,” said Skrepnek. “In the afternoon is when we see the more intense fire activity when the winds hit it and the heat of the day.”
With hot and dry weather anticipated for the next week to 10 days, the wildfire hazard rating is moderate for most of the region with extreme danger at Lillooet, Lytton and Ashcroft.
Residents are reminded that campfires must be limited to a half-metre wide and a half-meter high or face fines of $345 or as much as tens of thousands of dollars if it causes a wildfire.
“We are going to have some fire wardens patrolling this weekend to make sure people are adhering to that and making sure there are not unattended campfires.”
Anyone spotting a wildfire is asked to call it in by dialling *5555 on a cellphone or 1‑800‑663‑5555 toll free.