Boaters were causing havoc for skimmers on Sunday trying to get up close to the planes to take pictures and video. (John Poon Facebook)

Penticton boat launches close after boaters, Seadoos get in way of wildfire skimmers

Watercrafts seen coming in the path of skimmers trying to refill on Okanagan Lake

  • Aug. 31, 2021 12:00 a.m.

The RCMP closed the Penticton Yacht Club boat launches on Okanagan Lake after a few near mishaps between boats, Seadoos and the skimmer planes helping fight the Skaha Creek wildfire.

The RCMP closed the boat launches on Monday at 3 p.m.

However, the yacht club stated that the RCMP has not asked to close access in and out of the marina for its members.

“In light of this, if you are planning on boating while the skimmer planes are using the lake, please stay clear of the (west) side of the lake. We here in the Okanagan appreciate everything these firefighters do and should give them the respect they deserve and let them do their jobs as quickly and safely as possible. Enjoy your boat but just stay on the east side of the lake.

Numerous people have taken to Facebook posting pictures of boaters and Seadoos getting in the way of skimmers on Sunday. Some boaters came close to the skimmers to take pictures and video.

On Monday, most boaters seem to stay off the lake completely.

The Skaha Creek wildfire is visible from most parts of Penticton. The skimmers were using the west side of the lake near the SS Sicamous boat to drop down to refill every 10 to 15 minutes.

The fire is over 200 hectares in size but saw no new growth Monday night with cooler temperatures.

Skimmers, air tankers laying retardant and helicopters have been hammering the wildfire that started on Saturday. There are now more than 70 ground crew as well as heavy equipment.

As a precaution, the Penticton Indian Band issued evacuation alerts for properties in the Skaha Hills, Riva Ridge, Holiday Hills RV Resort and the PIB Lower Village south of Shingle Creek.

READ MORE: Small ignition planned on Skaha Creek fire Tuesday

READ MORE: Evacuation alert issued for over 200 properties

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