The Diamond Creek Fire is sending smoke and ash up the Okanagan Valley into the Shuswap. -Image credit: Photo taken from Facebook

Where there’s fire, there’s smoke

Diamond Creek Fire likely culprit in increased smoke and ash.

A good part of the Southern Interior is once again shrouded in smoke.

Kamloops Fire Centre Fire Information Officer Justine Hunse says the main contributor of smoke and ash is the Diamond Creek Fire in Washington State, which is near Border Lake by the Canada-U.S. border and approximately 70 kilometres west of Osoyoos.

“The Diamond Creek Fire that originated in the U.S. has grown significantly since yesterday and we have indications it crossed into Canada overnight,” Hunse says. “This morning, BC Wildfire is assessing by air, where the fire has gone and how far. We don’t believe there are any structures or communities threatened at this time.”

Higher temperatures and gusty winds resulted in aggressive behaviour on the Elephant Hill Fire southwest of Kamloops yesterday. The fire is 175,185 hectares in size, which is considered to be out-of-control but is 50 per cent contained. A total of 418 firefighters are working to establish guards around the fire.

Smoke is also emanating from the Philpott Road Fire near Kelowna, which has been mapped at 465 ha.

“Smoke is making its way into the atmosphere and following upper level winds which are from the southwest,” says Environment Canada meteorologist Cindy Yu, noting winds are expected to change to a westerly flow tomorrow. “In this case, there may be a bit of relief for the Southern Okanagan, maybe even up to Vernon. But for Salmon Arm, Elephant Hill is a big one and I don’t know if some of that (smoke) will make it into the area.”

Yu expects the region to have a one-day reprieve Thursday, with a bit of cloud and highs around 25 C.

But another high-pressure ridge will build over the weekend, kicking temperatures up into the low 30s again and likely lasting into Monday and perhaps Tuesday.

“The ridge should break down Wednesday and onward and we should see temperatures coming down,” says Yu, pointing out the normal temperature for this time of year is 23 C.”

Yu says a low-pressure system forming out over the Pacific Ocean has some characteristics of a winter storm.

“We’re looking at the possibility of some rain, but we don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up,” she says.