A wildfire burning between Summerland and Peachland is now fully contained.
The Finlay Creek wildfire, gauged Tuesday at 75-per-cent containment, at an estimated 2,228 hectares, has been burning since Sept. 2, but now the campsite on the Summerland baseball diamond is set to be taken down over the coming days, and evacuation orders have been rescinded
“We will continue to have crews on the fire over the next little while, but they will be slowly being reduced over time,” said fire information officer Heather Rice. “The Summerland fire camp will also be getting demobilized over the next bit of time.”
Crews will remain on site as needed, Rice said, but that’s not expected to take up too many resources.
Firefighters have done some controlled burning within the perimeter of the fire, along the eastern slope of Mount Acland, and plan to conduct another controlled burn on the slope Wednesday afternoon, according to Rice. This burning is to manage volatile fuels within the fire and reduce its intensity.
Crews are also working on mop-up efforts 30 metres from the fire’s edge, and are patrolling for hot spots.
Most of the activity is coming from the area of Mount Acland, but Rice said there hasn’t been much in the way of open flames, mostly seeing smouldering activity.
“The controlled burns might increase fire activity a bit; we might see a little bit of open flame and a little bit of crown burning, but nothing significant,” Rice said.
Evacuation notices and alerts, issued earlier for properties in the Garnett Valley area and the Meadow Valley area, have now been rescinded.
On Sunday morning, the municipality rescinded the evacuation order for two Summerland properties, on Garnett Valley Road and Meadow Valley Road. The properties are still under an evacuation alert until further notice and the evacuation order may be reissued if necessary.
The evacuation alert, issued for another 29 properties on Wildhorse Road and Garnett Valley Road, has also been rescinded.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has also lifted its evacuation order for the Meadow Valley area, although the region remains under an evacuation alert.
The notices were issued earlier as a result of the wildfire.
“Due to the decreased fire activity, and in consultation with the B.C. Wildfire incident commander, the evacuation alert which was implemented as a precautionary measure can be rescinded,” said Summerland Fire Chief Glenn Noble in a release. “Containment lines on the Garnett Valley side of the fire are well established and holding. Due to the change in the weather, fire activity within those containment lines has been greatly reduced.”
With the blaze only breaking out less than two weeks ago, Rice said it was a bit of luck and hard work to make sure the fire — in the thousands of hectares in size — didn’t get as out of control as some other B.C. fires earlier in the year, such as the Elephant Hill fire.
“We were fortunate to get those guards in quickly with the heavy equipment and maintain those fire guards,” Rice said. “We didn’t get those gusty winds that were really problematic on some of those other fires, so that helped us get the upper hand before any gusty winds really started blowing. That’s what created the initial run on this fire.”
Questions regarding the effect of the Finlay Creek wildfire within municipal boundaries may be directed to Summerland’s Wildfire Information line at 250-486-3765. For more information on Evacuation Alerts please visit www.rdos.bc.ca or contact the RDOS Emergency Operations Centre during business hours at 250-490-4225.