An aggressive forest firefighting response has helped establish a fire retardant line around two-thirds of a rank 2 level fire burning in the Upper Glenrosa area.
While the smoke is highly visible in West Kelowna, BC Wildfire Service spokesperson Melissa Klassen said the fire is burning in a dense timber area, with the closest structures in the rural area about one kilometre area and the fire burning in the opposite direction.
She said the blaze started out as a grassfire but the cause is stilll under investigation at this point.
Klassen said four air tankers and a birddog aircraft have already been pounding the fire with retardant, assisted as well by a helicopter, while two initial attack ground crews are now on the scene.
“Right now the fire is about 1.3 hectares in size and there is some open flame at this point, ” Klassen said of the fire, currently burning in a northeast direction.
“We are fortunate at this point that the wind is low as the temperature is very hot, up to 38 Celsius, in some areas of our fire zone and the humidity remains very low so those two factors are a concern to us in general,” Klassen said.
A Rank 2 fire rating is defined as a low vigour fire with a rate of spread of less than 1.5 metres a minute. It is a surface fire that burns in the surface fuel layer, excluding the crowns of trees. These fires produce visible open flame; have little or no spread, which is the speed at which the fire extends; and have an unorganized flame front or a flame front that does not exhibit all the same characteristics.
At this point, Klassen said there is no concern of the fire reaching the Glenrosa residential area because it is burning in the opposite direction and the firefighting effort has so far subdued its growth.
At this point, RCMP have closed off Glenrosa Road at Carre Road and are only letting residents pass to reach their homes.