Swift reaction to tendrils of smoke rising into the air above Peachland ensured that a wildfire growing on tinder dry land was all but snuffed out with little damage to nearby community.
The Drought Hill blaze that was sparked Thursday and reached 40 hectares in size at its height, was considered fully contained and into the mop up phase by early Monday.
“That means there’s a hand guard and hose system around 100 per cent of the fire,” said Kelsey Winter, a fire information officer with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources.
The assault on the fire through both land and air was tremendous and speedy, reflecting a new tack among firefighters.
“That is one of our strategies now,” Winter said. “Get them before they become a bigger fire.”
It amounts to the deployment of fewer firefighting troops, in the long run
Mother Nature has been less than helpful in the fiery days of summer, as the weather has been hot and dry for weeks.
But, the biggest problem remains to be humans.
It’s believed the Drought Hill fire, which falls into the Penticton Fire area, was human caused which brings the total number of human sparked incidents this summer to 37 of a total 57.
In the Kamloops Fire Centre, which Kelowna falls into, there have been a total of 260 fires. Winter said 140 of those were caused by humans and 120 by lightning.
People have been starting fires and also getting in the way of firefighting efforts.
Mounties said that they dealt with several episodes of boaters getting in the path of water bombers loading up in Okanagan Lake, during the Drought Hill fire.
“Boats were moving in and getting in the way of emergency vehicles,” said Const. Kris Clark.
If boats remained still would
be one thing, but Clark said there were actual cases of boats driving toward helicopters hovering above the water to reload.
It’s behaviour that’s dangerous both to everyone in the water, as well as those who are in the line of fire above.
The Evacuation Alert for one property on the 4700 block of MacKinnon Road remains in effect. No further Evacuation Alerts are anticipated.
The public can monitor www.cordemergency.ca, www.facebook.com/CORDEmergency or www.twitter.com/CO_Emerg for confirmed information about the situation.