Lumby monitors Joe Rich blaze

The Joe Rich wildfire isn’t far as a crow flies and that has Lumby officials on alert.

The Lumby Fire Department is monitoring the situation, which is developing east of Kelowna.

“It is not expected to move towards Lumby but fires are unpredictable and winds could push it our way.” said Tony Clayton, Lumby fire chief.

Joe Rich is about 25 kilometres away from Lumby.

“The department had a meeting Thursday night to organize a plan just in case,” said Clayton.

“In the event of it moving this way, everyone will be informed immediately and necessary action will be taken. I am in constant communication with the fire command, Office of the Fire Commissioner and Ministry of Forests.”

There were no unexpected challenges overnight for firefighters on the Philpott Road wildfire. Cool overnight conditions and minimal wind kept the fire from progressing. Thick smoke in the area is due to the lack of air movement overnight.

Crews from Joe Rich, Ellison, Kelowna, Peachland and Lake Country along with ten other fire departments throughout the Interior and the BC Wildfire Service monitored the 380-hectare blaze.

An evacuation order remains in place affecting about 1,100 people in a large section of Joe Rich. The status of the evacuation order will be reviewed Friday morning to determine if any change can be made.

Even though this is an active wildfire, there are still no reports of any structures being impacted.

A decision on the possible opening Highway 33 is expected later Friday morning. For now, it remains closed from the Gallaghers Road intersection in the City of Kelowna to Big White Road. A detour route is available for non-commercial passenger vehicles for those who must travel via McCulloch Road.