n ominous scene overlooking the Mount Eneas fire between Peachland and Summerland Wednesday night. Photo: Instagram/Caillum Smith

Update: Skeleton crew to watch 1,000 hectare wildfire near Peachland overnight

Peachland - Evacuation orders have been issued for Brent Road and Highway 97 South properties

UPDATE: 9:40 p.m.

With dankness setting in, crews fighting the Mt. Eneas wildfire south of Peachland are cutting back, with a skeleton crew on overnight.

According to fire information officer Noelle Kekula, if conditions are right, firefighters on scene may try to burn off some forest fuels in a bid to halt the overall advance of the flames overnight. The gusty winds are expected to subside.

She said the fire grew Thursday but did not double in size as originally reported.

“We got some better mapping that shows that was not the case,” she said.

The fire is; however, still estimated at 1,000 hectares.

During the day, BC Wildfire Service had air tankers in the sky over the fire, 57 ground personnel and heavy equipment on the ground. The air tankers stopped as it got dark.

A bulldozer remains on site.

Earlier in the evening, BC Wildfire stated it planned to focus efforts at the south end of the fire, near the Garnet Valley.

The Mount Eneas fire is one of three major wildfires currently burning in the Okanagan, with large fires near Summerland and on the other side of Okanagan Lake, in Okanagan Mountain Park, also burning out of control.

Earlier in the evening, Highway 97, which was closed several times during the day because of the fires and the heavy smoke, re-opened to single-lane, alternating traffic between Peachland and Summerland. Vehicles are being guided through with a pilot vehicle.

And estimated 121 homes have been evacuated because of the Mount Eneas fire.

In addition, an evacuation alert was issued for 60 properties in the southern end of Peachland and some properties within the Regional District of Central Okanagan Electoral Area West affected by the Mount Eneas wildfire.

A detailed map showing all the properties on the Evacuation Alert can be found at cordemergency.ca/mapopen_in_new.

Properties affected by the evacuation alert within the electoral area include:

  • 6801 – 6895 Highway 97
  • 303 – 307 Log Chute Rd

Properties affected by the evacuation alert within the District of Peachland include:

  • 6649 Hardy Street
  • 6696 Highway 97
  • 6705 Highway 97
  • Units 1 – 40 6711 Highway 97
  • 6691 – 6789 Thorne Rd

It is estimated approximately 150 people are affected by this alert. All people on evacuation alert should be prepared to leave on short notice if conditions change. Residents in the affected area should be prepared to be away from their homes for an extended period of time, make arrangements for pets and pack essential items such as medicines and important documents.

The existing evacuation order for Brent Road and Highway 97 South remains in effect.

An Emergency Support Services reception centre is set up at the Lakeview Heights Baptist Church, 2630 Alhambra Drive in West Kelowna. Residents who are out of their homes must report to the reception centre to receive any assistance and lodging.

———-

UPDATE: 9:09 p.m.

The Mount Eneas wildfire remains at 1,000 hectares.

Fire behaviour has increased since yesterday and structures are considered threatened. Structural protection units have been deployed to the area.​

BC Wildfire is on scene with air tankers, 57 personnel and one piece of heavy equipment. Additional resources are expected.

According to a statement by BC Wildfire, crews will focus their suppression efforts on increasing containment on the southern end of the fire, near Garnet Valley.

Thursday night, crews battled gusty and erratic winds in the area; however, four personnel were onsite along with local fire departments.

————-

UPDATE: 6 p.m

The Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland has now doubled in size to 1,000 hectares.

BC Wildfire Service reports fire behaviour increased yesterday and structures are considered threatened.

Structural protection units have been deployed to the area.​

New fire crews are being called to the scene from West Kelowna, Kelowna and Lake Country to aid in fighting the fire.

Highway 97 has closed once again between Peachland and Summerland.

Airtankers, 22 personnel and helicopters were onsite today.

Firefighters are focusing their suppression efforts on increasing containment on the southern end of the fire, near Garnet Valley.

Related: Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire grows to 340 hectares

Related: Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

More to come.

—-

Update: 5:24 p.m.

An evacuation alert is being issued for 60 properties in the southern end of Peachland and for some properties within the Regional District of Central Okanagan Electoral Area West affected by the Mt. Eneas wildfire.

Properties affected by the evacuation alert within the electoral area include:

  • 6801 – 6895 Highway 97 S
  • 303 – 307 Log Chute Rd

Properties affected by the evacuation alert within the District of Peachland include:

  • 6649 Hardy St
  • 6696 Highway 97
  • 6705 Highway 97
  • Units 1 – 40 6711 Highway 97
  • 6691 – 6789 Thorne Rd

It is estimated approximately 150 people are affected by this alert.

————-

Update: 4:57 p.m.

The Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland is holding steady at 500 hectares.

Noelle Kekula, with BC Wildfire Service, is heading up the incident command centre for the Okanagan wildfires.

Kekula says while the Mount Eneas fire is displaying rank 2 behaviour which means it is not aggressively burning but is slow moving.

There are currently about 20 firefighters on scene along with air support.

“There has been a request for more resources and we are currently priorities where these crews will go,” said Kekula.

Kekula explains BC Wildfire priority is first and foremost life and property.

“Where life and property is at risk then that is where we put our resources. We are not putting one fire over the other, but we have to triage and make a priority list.”

BC Wildfire Service may be in the process of setting up a base camp for firefighters in West Kelowna, at the south-end of Carrington Road at Gellatly Road.

———

Update: 11:15 a.m.

The BC Wildfire Service is reporting that “good” progress has been made on the wildfires near West Kelowna. One of three fires is now under control with ground crews and heavy equipment on site.

—-

Update: 9:10 a.m.

The Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland has grown to 500 hectares in size, according to the BC Wildfire Service’s website.

“Fire behaviour increased yesterday and structures are considered threatened. Structural protection units have been deployed to the area.

“There were gusty and erratic winds in the area overnight. Four BC Wildfire Service personnel were onsite overnight last night along with members of the Kelowna Fire Department,” wildfire service said.

“Airtankers, 22 personnel and helicopters will be onsite this morning. Additional resources are expected to be onsite later today. They will focus their suppression efforts on increasing containment on the southern end of the fire, near Garnet Valley.”

Update: 8:50 a.m.

Crews continue to work on the Mount Eneas fire wildfire south of Peachland today, according to the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations centre in a news release.

Fire suppression will include activity from the ground and air. As water bombers will be active in both areas, people are reminded to stay clear so that crews can do their job safely, the release said.

Both fires are estimated at 200 hectares. It is expected that BC Wildfire Service will update this estimate later today.

All evacuation alerts and orders remain in effect. For a map of the affected properties in the Central Okanagan, visit cordemergency.ca/map.

For more information on properties on evacuation order and alert within the boundaries of the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, visit rdos.bc.ca. This includes Okanagan Lake Provincial Park and the Greata Ranch area.

For highway updates, visit the DriveBC website.

An Emergency Support Services (ESS) reception centre for evacuated residents is located at the Lakeview Heights Baptist Church, 2630 Alhambra Drive in West Kelowna. ESS volunteers will be available starting at 8:30 a.m. this morning to help affected Central Okanagan residents. Residents that are evacuated from their homes must report to the reception centre to receive any assistance and lodging, the release said.

According to West Kelowna fire chief Jason Broland, the West Kelowna Fire Department assisted Peachland fire crews last night, protecting homes in the Brent Road area.

A small fire at Mount Drought has been contained, he said.

Original:

The Mount Eneas wildfire, also known as the Brent Road wildfire, has caused evacuation orders for properties in the surrounding area.

Located about four kilometres south of Peachland, the wildfire is estimated to be 200 hectares in size as of July 19.

Evacuation orders have been issued for properties in the Brent Road area, including all campsites at Okanagan Lake Provincial Park.

According to the latest from DriveBC, Highway 97 is open to single-lane alternating traffic with an RCMP escort. Alternate routes are available via Hwy 97C, Hwy 5A and Hwy 3.

Expect heavy traffic delays.

The West Kelowna Fire Department sent crews to support Peachland overnight, according to the department’s Instagram.

Small fires continue to burn in the West Kelowna area including a fire at Carrot Mountain that is .61 hectares in size, one near Law Creek in Glenrosa which is two hectares and another at Mount Drought which is .10 hectares.

The fires located near Peachland of note are near Peachland Creek which is three hectares and near Munro Lake which is .01 hectares.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

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