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Aug. 12: Elephant Hill fire is now estimated at 124,843 hectares

<p>The Interlakes area was extremely smoky yesterday (Aug. 11). Max Winkelman photo.</p> -

The Interlakes area was extremely smoky yesterday (Aug. 11). Max Winkelman photo.

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The Elephant Hill fire is now estimated at 124,843 hectares according to Fire Information Officer Noelle Kekula.

Some of that growth was in the north northeast sections where they had been planning controlled burns, according to Kekula.

"It did go to that area where we already were wanting to do some burning to remove that fuel, but we never had that weather opportunity to do that burn so mother nature did it for us."

The fire has gotten a bit closer to Green Lake says Kekula but it was too dark and smokey yesterday to know how close, she says.

"Now that it's slowing down, it's not active this morning, we had a little bit of recovery overnight that they're up now trying to get an idea of where it grew yesterday."

They continue to expect southerly winds with more fire activity this afternoon, says Kekula. They had some good results in the south yesterday, she says.

"Division Bravo, that piece north of Highway 99, that piece with the southerly [winds] did actually burn into the guard…you saw the column of smoke and then it ran out of fuel because it ran into our guard and it ran into the black and it had no more fuel to burn."

They did some controlled burns to tighten it up, says Kekula, adding that it was a bit of a good news story.

She strongly wants to remind residents of three things.

The south wind is pushing the smoke into the Interlakes area and it's going to be smoky for a while, says Kekula

She also warns the public use some of the online tools as a guide, not as fact.

"The public are using that MODUS, that Google Earth tool, to monitor the growth of the fire and everything and there's all these other tools that the public are using. Use it as a guide. Don't use it as the gospel truth. It's a guide."

One example is that while some programs may show the fire has jumped Highway 99, it has not, says Kekula.

"They absolutely refuse to believe me because their program they're watching on the computer is telling them that it has…It is a guide, just remember that."

The Wildfires of Note page is the one to trust, she says.

Lastly, she'd like to remind residents not to stay in evacuation order areas or try to reenter, says Kekula.

"I know everyone wants to go home. I know it's been a month. I know all of that stuff but this is a very large fire and it is not contained."

"If you're in an evacuation order, get out. There's a reason that order is in place. We saw how fast those fires took off yesterday. We continue to see how fast fires move when the conditions are favourable or unfavourable, whichever way to want to word it, it moves fast. There's a reason those evacuation orders are there, so please respect them. We've got structural protection units out there. They're triaging. They're assessing. They've got the units on the properties. Let the experts do their job and don't put yourself in harms way."

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