The lightning storm that rolled through the B.C. Interior on Wednesday temporarily grounded helicopters fighting the Mckay Creek wildfire north of Lillooet.

The BC Wildfire Service says 15 helicopters are back in the sky today, supporting ground crews in the battle against the 24,255-hectare blaze that has forced evacuation alerts and orders in the area.

Crews conducted a number of successful planned ignitions Wednesday to eliminate fuel between the fire perimeter and guards.

Aerial and hand ignitions in the southwest brought the fire down a guard at Lee Creek while smaller-scale ignitions above the community of Pavillion burned off more fuel. Mop-up is taking place between the transmission lines and Clinton Pavilion Forest Service Road.

“Along the east flank, heavy equipment completed guard from the transmission lines northwards and the hose lay is almost complete. This work is being completed in preparation for planned ignitions from the transmission lines to the machine guard along the eastern flank,” BCWS said.

Crews are mopping up along West Pavillion, a “very quiet” part of the fire.

While Wednesday’s lightning temporarily grounded BCWS helicopters, the storm brought 5-10 mm of rain to the fire.

Structure protection specialists are maintaining sprinkler systems in Pavilion and have started demobilizing sprinkler systems in secure areas on the West Pavilion Road.

A total of 165 personnel are fighting the fire situated 11.5 kilometres north of Lillooet. In addition to air support, 20 pieces of heavy equipment are assigned to the blaze.

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