Conditions aren’t favourable for fire crews to go ahead with their planned 3,000-hectare burn in the fight against the White Rock Lake wildfire Thursday, Aug. 26.
BC Wildfire Service did however complete two small-scaled burns in the past two days.
A 350-hectare ignition on Aug. 24 brought the fire’s northeastern edge down to workable grounds for fire crews. This was also a critical pre-burn ahead of the larger-scale ignition planned for the area.
Wednesday (Aug. 25), fire crews secured the fire perimeter burning north of Terrace Mountain above Shorts Creek along the southeast flank. Here, aerial ignitions removed around 600 hectares of fuel.
“The Drought Code in this area of the fire is resulting in incredibly deep burning forest fuels making it difficult to bring this area to full extinguishment,” BCWS information officer Hanna Swift said.
Twenty firefighters remained overnight to build a hose-lay along the control line ahead of mop-up and an infrared scan will be completed today to help crews identify hot spots.
Ignition operations are a key piece to securing safety for residents, the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations said, and BCWS remains hopeful that residents could return home in five to 10 days if conditions allow.
The Okanagan Indian Band said Thursday it won’t be ordering any more evacuations unless recommended by the BC Wildfire Services in regards to controlled burns.
Community feedback questioned why smaller orders were made and the OKIB explained controlled burns are more predictable than out-of-control conditions as seen on Aug. 15 when the entire IR#1 was put on evacuation order.
“BC Hydro crews are making good progress along Westside Road to remove danger trees and restore power lines where required. During the wind event on Aug. 15, there was a substantial amount of damage to power lines. Restoring damages where feasible is crucial to ensure safety for residents before they return home,” Swift said.
North Westside Fire Chief Alex Can Bruksvoort said the planned ignition above the Valley of the Sun was a success.
Local crews continue to patrol and extinguish hot spots.
“We are supporting BC Hydro and all other agencies as they rebuild the infrastructure to bring as many of you home as soon as possible,” he said. “Please be patient as we make your community much safer moving forward, safety within the fire area needs to be paramount, as all areas are being safeguarded.”
Another information session for Central Okanagan Regional District evacuees is slated for tonight at 6 p.m. on the district’s YouTube channel. www.youtube.com/regionaldistrict
Residents can submit questions for the panel in advance before noon today by going online. To watch the live-streamed community information session go to the RDCO YouTube channel at youtube.com/regionaldistrict.