UPDATE: Peachland wildfire holding at 1,000 hectares

A day of attacking the fire has kept it from growing southwest of Peachland and Kelowna

Update: 6:44 p.m.

The Peachland wildfire is holding in size at 1,000 hectares after a day of attack from ground and air crews.

“Fire behaviour is rank two with some rank three…there’s quite a bit of smoke being generated and some open flame so it’s highly visible,” said Rachel Witt of the BC Wildfire Service, noting that northern winds along with the extreme dryness are big factors in the fight.

Areas in the South Okanagan have been evacuated while alerts remain in place affecting over 300 properties near Peachland.

Through the evening, a crew of seven firefighters and four pieces of heavy equipment will continue to dig fire guards around the blaze.

With the fire burning in Crown land across both the Central Okanagan and Okanagan Similkameen regional districts, there are no local firefighters helping with the blaze. The BCWS did confirm that structures have been lost in the fire, but could not say what type.

CORD officials said they were not aware of structures that had been affected in its area.

Update: 12:30 p.m.

The BC Wildfire Service says the Peachland fire has impacted some structures that were in the fire zone, however they can’t confirm what those structures were.

The fire is burning on crown land, is out of control and is estimated at 1,000 hectares and has now prompted evacuation orders in the Summerland area.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations say there are no homes in the Peachland or Central Okanagan boundaries that have been impacted and over 300 properties are on an evacuation alert, as a precautionary matter.

“There are structures in the vicinity and we have received reports that structures have been impacted but as far as how many or what structures have been impacted, we don’t have any more information,” said Rachel Witt of the BCWS.

The area is a well-known hunting location with a huge network of roads and there could be cabins in the area. The Capital News is working to update this story.

Witt says the main factor in the fire’s growth from 100 hectares Saturday night to 1,000 hectares this morning is the extremely dry conditions.

“That specific area , I talked with a meteorologist this morning and that particular area hasn’t received significant precipitation since the middle of June,” she said. “That is a huge factor and huge impact on how quickly it can move.”

BCWS has 23 firefighters on site as well as three helicopters, four pieces of heavy equipment as well as air tankers fighting the blaze.

An incident management team is also heading to the scene of the fire. More resources are expected to arrive to help fight the fire later today.

UPDATE: Noon

It is another day of hot, dry conditions as the BC Wildfire Service continues to fight the Finlay Creek wildfire, southwest of Peachland which is now pegged at 1,000 hectares in size.

BC Wildfire reports there was substantial growth overnight.

As a precaution, the Emergency Operation Centre is expanding the Evacuation Alert to include about 206 additional properties over an above those that were put on Alert last night.

RELATED: 100 properties were put on evacuation alert.

The new properties under Evacuation Alert within the District of Peachland include:

  • 6575 – 6696 Highway 97
  • 4948 – 5079 Elliott Avenue
  • 6421 – 6465 Mack Road
  • 6457 – 6650 Renfrew Road
  • 6470 – 6484 Renfrew Court
  • 4949 – 5061 Princeton Avenue
  • 6487 – 6568 Sherburn Road
  • 6471 – 6485 Stuart Crescent South
  • 6503 – 6551 Ferguson Place
  • 6426 – 6575 Vernon Avenue
  • 6465 – 6590 Bulyea Avenue

Those new properties under Evacuation Alert within the Regional District of Central Okanagan Central Okanagan West Electoral Area include:

  • Brent Road
  • Zipzone – upper Princteon Avenue (5875 Brenda Forest Service Road)

Residents in these areas should be prepared to leave their homes on short notice should fire conditions change.

A detailed map is available showing the affected properties is available at www.cordemergency.ca.

“This fire is burning in steep terrain and initially there were strong westerly winds in the area,” says BC Wildfire.

“Crews and heavy equipment worked overnight on building guards around the fire’s perimeter, but were challenged by fire behaviour. The fire remained active throughout the night leading to this increased size. Today, crews and air support continue to work on containment.:

The main factors influencing this fire behaviour are terrain, wind speed/direction (today winds are coming from the North), and largely this fire activity and rate of spread is due to how dry the fuels are within this area of the Okanagan.

“There has not been significant rainfall in the Finley Creek area in over two months.”

—-

ORIGINAL:

Fire crews are continuing to fight the Peachland wildfire this morning after what was an “active night” for the blaze, which began southwest of Peachland on Saturday.

RELATED: Peachland wildfire now at 100 hectares

The fire broke out Saturday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. and as of last night around 9 p.m. had rapidly increased in size to 100 hectares. Fire officials are assessing the fire from the air this morning and did not currently have an updated size estimate as of 9:30 a.m.

RELATED: 100 properties were put on evacuation alert.

RELATED: BC failed to reduce wildfire risk: Communities

Rachel Witt with the B.C. Wildfire Service did say the fire was active and challenging for crews overnight. It’s located in an area with plenty of steep terrain.

There are now 23 firefighting crews on the ground as well as three helicopters attacking the fire, along with one piece of heavy equipment working to dig trenches and fire guard.

A fixed wing aircraft has been sent to fly over the fire to assess it for size and for the need for further air tanker support.

Overnight seven firefighters and two pieces of equipment remained on the scene of the blaze, working to build fire-guards in the area.

Due to the extensive network of forestry roads in the area, crews were looking to utilize the roads to help with the fire guard, the BCWS said Saturday night.

The blaze grew quickly on Saturday from its initial start, it doubled in size each hour to rapidly reach 100 hectares by last report at about 8:30 Saturday evening.


 

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The Peachland fire has increased to 1,000 hectares. - Image: BC Wildfire Service

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