Crews keep an eye on high-elevation blazes

There are fires burning at Aberdeen Lake and near Mabel Lake

Firefighters continue with their efforts to ensure two high-elevation blazes don’t grow.

There are fires burning at Aberdeen Lake and near Mabel Lake.

Guests at the Nicklen Lake Resort, as well as a forestry campsite, voluntarily evacuated because of a blaze, which broke out near Aberdeen Lake at about 6 p.m. Monday.

“The threat to structures is pretty minimal right now,” said Kevin Skrepnek, a B.C. Wildfire Management Branch information officer, Tuesday.

Five air tankers immediately began dropping retardant on the fire, which grew to about 42 hectares in size.

“It was a wind-driven fire and it was burning in a long, skinny line for awhile,” said Skrepnek.

“There was some pretty intense activity when it first started.”

Overnight, a ground crew of 27 people was on site at Aberdeen Lake with heavy equipment.

The Mabel Lake fire, near Cottonwood Creek,  was about 40  hectares in size Tuesday. It is not threatening any cabins or structures in the area.

“The challenge is, out there it’s in very steep terrain,” said Skrepnek.

“Heavy fuels are also making it difficult to create a fuel-free area around the fire to contain it.”

There are currently 65 personnel on site, supported by helicopters and heavy equipment.

The blaze is 30 per cent contained.

“While it has grown, it seems to be staying within the guards we created (Sunday),” said Skrepnek.

“The containment lines we have in place have held and we have seen no growth on the fire. It remains at 40 hectares in size.”

In the last week, Wildfire Management Branch personnel have responded to 20 wildfires in the Vernon fire zone.

Other lightning-caused fires, east of Mabel Lake and northeast of Sugar Lake, are only 0.1 and 0.2 of a hectare in size.

North Okanagan residents, and tourists, are reminded that a campfire ban is still in effect for the area.

The ban was lifted for Kamloops, Salmon Arm and Merritt last week.

Skrepnek, said that if conditions are still wet and cool this week there may be consideration in lifting the ban in the Vernon area.