New Skaha Creek wildfire near Penticton may impact flights

Randy Kirkoski took this photo of the new Skaha Creek wildfire near Penticton.Randy Kirkoski took this photo of the new Skaha Creek wildfire near Penticton.
Skaha Creek fire at night above Holiday Hills RV park taken Saturday night, Aug. 28. (Corinne Wheeler Markus Facebook)Skaha Creek fire at night above Holiday Hills RV park taken Saturday night, Aug. 28. (Corinne Wheeler Markus Facebook)
BC Wildfire

Update: 1 p.m.

Although the Skaha Creek Wildfire is not a threat to properties within the boundaries of the City of Penticton, the response may affect services at the Penticton Regional Airport as well as recreational boating on Skaha and Okanagan Lakes, said the city of Penticton on Sunday.

Anyone flying in or out of the Penticton Regional Airport over the next few days is advised to check yyf.penticton.ca for current flight information.

Recreational boaters on Skaha and Okanagan Lakes are also asked to stay close to shore to allow skimmers to collect lake water to fight the fire.

The Penticton Indian Band and Westhills Aggregates are also supporting the response and improving road conditions to allow crews and equipment better access to the fire site.

The Band would like to remind the public to avoid areas and roadways close to the fire as it puts responders and the community at risk.

According to BC Wildfire information officer Taylor McDonald, the community could see more smoke in the afternoon as the temperatures are heating up.

“We have six skimmers providing cooling action at the fire retardant line, 20 BC wildfire crews on the ground and one piece of heavy equipment,” said McDonald on Sunday.

The fire didn’t see any growth overnight thanks to the cooler temperatures, she added.

As of Sunday afternoon, the fire remained at 17 hecatres and classified as out of control.

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The smell of smoke permeated the air and an orange glow could be seen in the hills behind the Penticton Airport Saturday night from the new Skaha Creek wildfire near Penticton.

The Skaha Creek wildfire was last listed at 17 hectares in size. There were 23 BC Wildfire ground crew who responded to the fire. Skimmers and airtankers made good progress cooling the fire and dropping retardant along its flanks, said BC Wildfire Saturday night.

In the space of six hours the fire, located about six kilometres southwest of Penticton in the hills behind the Penticton Airport, has grown to 17 hectares in size.

The cause of the fire is suspected to be human caused.

A reminder to all boaters to remain clear of all water skimming aircraft so these resources can safely pick up water on Okanagan Lake.

The Western News will update information about this fire as soon as it becomes available.

READ MORE: Skaha Creek fire quickly grows to 17 hectares

B.C. Wildfires 2021