Update: Peachland wildfire holding at 1,793 hectares

Smoke may increase today around the valley

Update: 9 p.m.

The Mt. Eneas wildfire is holding at an estimated 1,793 hectares Monday evening.

The BC Wildfire Service says 124 firefighters were on scene today to work to extinguish the blaze along with heavy equipment, and air support.

The fire is still being considered out of control.

BC Wildfire Service fire information officer Noelle Kekula said Monday evening that crews have had a very successful day fighting the fires.

“There has been a lot of positive work on all of the fires in the Okanagan Complex,” said Kekula. “It was really good. A really good day on the fires.”

Kekula said crews are now just waiting to see if any lightning comes through the region tonight and if it does, they will manage accordingly.

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Update 5:47 p.m.

The Mt. Eneas wildfire has grown to an estimated 1,793 hectares and is still active as 124 firefighters continue to work to extinguish the blaze along with heavy equipment, and air support.

The fire is still being considered out of control.

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Update 3:49 p.m.

The Mt. Eneas wildfire is still classified as out of control according to Information Officer Shelley Zupp.

“The Incident Commander is not comforatble classifying the wildfire as ‘under control’ until he is assured that all containment lines are in place,” Zupp said.

Classification will not be changed until possibly tonight at their evening meeting.

Top deck update 19. Is this a flare up in the gusting wind or another controlled burn?

A post shared by Ted Farr (@tedfarrmedia) on

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Update 2:12 p.m.

BC Wildfire has said there is no new information about the Mt. Eneas fire, it continues to burn at 1,516 hectares.

A Geographic Information System technician is creating a public access map that will be released later today.

Top deck update 20. Yes the wildfire took off.

A post shared by Ted Farr (@tedfarrmedia) on

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The Mt. Eneas fire, burning in the hills above Peachland, is now being mapped at 1,516 hectares and still considered out of control.

This, however, isn’t bad news to those on the fire line. It’s part of a larger plan to gain control over the blaze that was sparked by lightning last week.

Glen Burgess, incident commander for the Okanagan complex of wildfires told media Sunday afternoon that BC Wildfire intentionally increased the size of the Mount Eneas fire, forcing it to join with the nearby Munro Forest Service Road Wildfire wildfire.

“The plume of smoke can be unnerving,” said Burgess, explaining that it was a choice between doing it themselves, under their own terms, or waiting for it to happen uncontrollably when an inevitable wind blew the fire up.

“The objective was to remove that fuel at our time when the weather was co-operating,” said Burgess.

READ MORE: EVACUATION NUMBERS REMAIN HIGH

Crews used helicopters to drop ping pong size balls — plastic spherical devices, Burgess called them — loaded with a small amount of chemicals that would ignite, causing new fires.

Prior to the drop, aerial tankers laid out lines of retardant to contain the fire.

“The plan was to remove the fuel between two fires,” Burgess said. He explained that ground crews could have done the work, but that would have put lives at risk unnecessarily.

READ MORE: PING PONG?

“Things have gone well and we didn’t have anything go unexpectedly,” said Burgess.

“One of the reasons we wanted to do this today, is we haven’t moved into the hotter dryer weather that was predicted.”

The burn added about 150 hectares to the fire.

READ MORE: FIRES MERGED

“The growth we saw today was a planned event,” said Burgess. “We will be in a much better position. The fire will be behind containment lines where we can work on it.

The good news, Burgess explained, is that winds aren’t expected to accompany the warming weather.

“At this point, our weather people are telling us we won’t be seeing the winds we saw a few days ago,” he said.

There are 112 firefighters ground crews, heavy equipment and air support are working on the fire today. The Air Quality Health Index is currently at a 1, which is good, but it’s expected to inch up to a 2 throughout the Okanagan today.

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