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UPDATE: Huge planned ignition for White Rock Lake fire set for Monday

Crews continue to work on 81,000-plus-hectare blaze with help from Canadian Armed Forces
The BC Wildfire Service used favourable conditions Tuesday, Aug. 24, to begin a small-scale planned ignition operations along the northeastern flank of the White Rock Lake wildfire. Since then, conditions have not been in BCWS’ favour for a 3,000-hectare planned ignition. (Black Press - file photo)

UPDATE AUG. 29, 1:39 P.M.

The planned ignition is slated for Monday, Aug. 30.


Weather conditions remain unfavourable for a planned 3,000-hectare ignition to help combat the White Rock Lake wildfire.

The area near Fintry received about five millimetres of rain Saturday, Aug. 28, and there were minimal amounts of precipitation in other areas of the fire. Because of the rain in the Six Mile Creek area off Westside Road, conditions are not favourable for the planned ignition.

“BC Wildfire has indicated the White Rock Lake fire is consuming deep burning fuels which are persistent throughout the east flank of the fire,” said Lisa Gyorkos, deputy corporate officer for the Township of Spallumcheen in an update for residents on the blaze. “Deep burning fuels make it extremely difficult to bring a fire to full extinguishment. As such, they have advised that the planned ignitions are the most favourable tactic to gain control while also maintaining an appropriate safety margin for firefighters.”

Crews continue to see positive progress along all flanks of the fire.

Infrared drone scans will continue to be carried out along the west, east and northern flanks to help personnel target remaining hot spots along these flanks. The expansive size of the fire continues to require a substantial workforce to ensure mop-up and patrol operations are thorough throughout the entire fire perimeter.

On Saturday, 60 Canadian Armed Forces personnel arrived on-site and an additional 60 Canadian Armed Forces personnel will arrive Sunday, Aug. 29, to assist with patrol efforts along the west and north flanks of the fire.

When the planned ignition does happen, there will be significant smoke in the air, and there will be changes to air quality.

As part of the preparation work for this planned ignition, BC Wildfire in conjunction with the Armstrong Spallumcheen Fire Department has placed large blue containers in strategic locations of Spallumcheen. Each container holds 21,000 gallons of water and will be used by structural protection crews should it be necessary.

“This is a precautionary measure only,” said Gyorkos. “There are currently no indicators that the fire is set to enter Spallumcheen’s borders.”

(Neill Moroz, Structure Protection Specialist, has been working on the White Rock Lake wildfire for several weeks now. In this video, Neill provides an overview of what the Structure Protection Branch does on a wildfire and shares some stories of the tireless work crews have been doing. Courtesy BC Wildfire Service)

Some of the things that area residents can do are:

• Avoid use of backcountry areas. The Township asks that everyone stay alert to signs of fire and report any signs of wildfire in back country areas to 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 from a cell phone;

• Make sure that you are prepared for quickly changing situations by having an emergency plan and be prepared to leave your home or business with short notice.

The current evacuation alert area for the Township of Spallumcheen is located here.

In an update release Saturday, Aug. 28, at 3 p.m., the Okanagan Indian Band said it does not anticipate any changes to orders and alerts.

A full list of the properties affected by the current alert can be found here.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Faces of the heroes fighting the White Rock Lake wildfire

‘Positive progress’ being made on all flanks of White Rock Lake wildfire

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