UPDATE: 8 p.m.
The Oliver Fire Department reports the fire burning east of the community has been extinguished. B.C Wildfire crews will remain on scene overnight to finish mopping any hotspots and ensure the fire is completely suppressed.
“We will have crews working overnight … they will be working as long as they need to,” said Brenna Ward, a fire information officer with BC Wildfire. That could be anything from this evening to early morning hours tomorrow, she explained, adding that cooling temperatures going into the evening helped with the fire suppression as did the kind of fuels it was burning in.
Ward called them “quick and flashy:” dry grass and sage that burns intensely but quickly consumes itself.
Graham said the oils in the fuel make a large amount of smoke, but the fire was mostly ground surface burning.
“There was some wind there, it caused the fire to move vigorously,” said Graham. “Everything went really well, everyone worked quickly.”
Ward and Graham both said the fire was brought under control before it could get into any timber.
Ward said the fire is suspected to be human-caused since there was no lightning in the area. B.C. Wildfire is sending their fire origin and cause team to investigate further.
UPDATE: 6:43 p.m.
A six-hectare fire burning four kilometres east of Oliver is largely under control, according to Oliver Volunteer Fire Department spokesperson Rob Graham.
“Things are pretty well contained. We had a couple of bomber drops to guard the north end and northwest side of the fire. We’re just trying to take care of some hotspots that are not easily accessible by a lot of our trucks, here,” Graham said.
“(There are) a couple of smoky spots, but not as intense as it was when things first go going.”
The BC Wildfire Service is currently responding to a ~6 ha #BCwildfire ~4 km east of #OliverBC. 10 BCWS personnel have been deployed with support from airtankers. The Oliver Fire Department is also currently assisting with response and suppression efforts.
— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) June 19, 2018
Two air tankers were deployed to the scene, along with 10 B.C. Wildfire Service firefighters, joining around 30 local firefighters.
Graham said he didn’t expect the fire to be an all-nighter for firefighters.
“At least not for us. I’m sure that once we’ve got work done on our side that forestry will take over and work on knocking down any of the hot spots through the major portion of the fire,” Graham said.
“Thing’s been pretty well contained. Just this one spot that’s giving us a little trouble just with access,” Graham said. “As the wind picks up right now, that’s feeding it a bit and making it a little more smoky.”
In all, it took just over an hour-and-a-half to knock the fire down from first response to a controlled blaze, Graham said, with fire crews responding at around 4:30 p.m.
UPDATE: 6:18 p.m.
Two air tankers are responding to a six-hectare wildfire burning four kilometres east of Oliver, joining 10 B.C. Wildfire Service firefighters and 30 Oliver Volunteer Fire Department firefighters on the ground.
A B.C. Wildfire spokesperson said the fire is still classified as “out of control,” meaning there has not yet been any containment of the blaze.
It is not clear yet if the air tankers have arrived on scene.
The B.C. Wildfire Service said another update will likely be coming for around 8 p.m.
The Western News will continue to update as the efforts progress.
ORIGINAL: 5:45 p.m.
At least 30 Oliver Volunteer Fire Department firefighters are on the scene of a wildfire of unknown size east of Oliver.
Department spokesperson Rob Graham said B.C. Wildfire Service crews are on the scene to assist with the local department, and air support has been requested.
“We are on scene, we are actioning this fire. B.C. forestry has a ground crew on scene and air support on the way,” Graham said, adding he could not give an estimate of the size of the blaze.