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Fire crews continue to battle West Kelowna, Peachland blazes

Both fires remain out of control
BC Wildfire Service is continuing to battle both the McDougall Creek wildfire in West Kelowna and the Glen Lake wildfire in Peachland. (BC Wildfire Service)

While fire activity has slowed down at the McDougall Creek wildfire in West Kelowna, to the south, strong winds have increased fire activity at the Glen Lake blaze in Peachland.

BC Wildfire Service experienced 65 km/h winds on Tuesday, Sept. 19, causing an increase in fire activity in Peachland but it is hoping the cooler weather and rain that occurred Wednesday morning helped slow the spread of the blaze down.

Because of the increased fire activity that took place Tuesday afternoon, fire crews are working with the Peachland Fire Department and local structure protection specialists in case the fire spreads closer to properties. Structure protection crews are already established around homes in the Glen Lake area.

Because of heavy smoke in the area, crews haven’t been able to resize the blaze, as it currently remains at 763 hectares. The size of the fire will grow when crews can accurately resize their mapping.

The fire has been most active at the northeast side of the blaze and multiple helicopters, a birddog aircraft, and two tankers are working the flames. Heavy machinery is also establishing a guard along the north and east flanks of the fire.

Because the fire is at the top of a mountain ridge, winds can blow more than forecasted, causing difficult conditions for crews to battle the blaze.

The Glen Lake wildfire started on Saturday, Sept. 15 and is human-caused. As fire activity has lessened at the McDougall Creek wildfire, some fire crews left to attack the Glen Lake blaze, which is now part of the Grouse Complex.

The McDougall Creek wildfire is currently rated at ranks 1 and 2. Crews are continuing to mop up and extinguish hot spots, applying direct attack methods. Other fire members are dismantling and demobilizing non-essential equipment. It remains 13,970.4 hectares in size.

On Tuesday night, Central Okanagan Emergency Services rescinded evacuation alerts for:

  • 5455 & 5495 DEIGHTON ROAD
  • All properties accessed off WESTSIDE ROAD, North of Nahun to South of La Casa including:
    • 5875, 6409, 6421, 6457, 6469, 6481 & 6493 WESTSIDE ROAD

Additionally evacuation orders has been downgraded to evacuation alert for parts of the Crown Land in the Bear Creek area. The following properties remain in evacuation order:

  • Bald Range Creek
  • Bear Lake Road (Bear Main)
  • Blue Grouse Mountain Road

Bear Creek Provincial Park is still off-limits to the public as fire crews are using it for their operations.

On Friday (Sept. 15) morning, the area restriction order was extended to Tuesday, Oct. 3, or until the order is rescinded. Anyone found in the area is subject to a $1,150 fine.

All evacuation orders and alerts for both wildfires can be found on the Central Okanagan Emergency Services website.

BC Hydro has also been working in the area as it has restored power to nearly 90 per cent of customers, nearly 1,200 residents. The fire destroyed 426 power poles and BC Hydro has already replaced more than 400 of them.

On top of replacing poles and power lines, crews have worked with BC Wildfire Service in a clean-up effort to remove debris and vegetation from the impacted areas.

Customers affected by the fire who were on evacuation order for five days or longer will be eligible to receive a credit for the electricity consumed for the duration of the time they’re out of their homes.

Both wildfires remain out of control and are wildfires of note.

READ MORE: Peachland Fire Rescue Service ready if Glen Lake wildfire gets closer

READ MORE: Sprinkle of snow in the forecast for Okanagan Connector

Jordy Cunningham

About the Author: Jordy Cunningham

Hailing from Ladner, B.C., I have been passionate about sports, especially baseball, since I was young. In 2018, I graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops with a Bachelor of Journalism degree
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