A plane flies over smoke billowing from the Mount Eneas fire last week. Photo courtesy of Meghann Fletcher

Progress being made on Okanagan wildfires

Danger not over, fires could flare up again

Firefighting crews have made good progress on wildfires burning throughout the Okanagan, thanks to a couple of days of cooler weather.

Related: RDOS: Evacuation order amended, residents north of Summerland can return home

Less smoke in the air also means cleaner air. The Air Quality Health Index for the South, Central and North Okanagan regions are all forecast to be low risk throughout Sunday.

“I was lucky enough to get up in the air yesterday, late afternoon,” said Noelle Kekula, spokesperson for region’s complex incident team.“It looks great. Really good progress has been made.

“Crews really did a great job to get some containment lines in, hand lines, machine guards.”

In the areas where machine or hand word wasn’t possible, retardant and water drops help to make a bit of a line, she said.

“Those crews really have been putting a lot of backbreaking effort into it, and the successes are being seen. I am happy to say we are seeing progress,” Kekula said, adding a caution that the fires are far from out.

She likens a campfire. The fire may look out, but if you blow on it, the embers will flare up again. People might not see a lot of open flame or smoke at the moment, but the danger is far from over.

Related: Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

“It literally is a bed of coals,” said Kekula. The objective now is to extinguish hot spots around the perimeters of the fires, so when the wind blows the fire up again, there is no material around for it to burn.

“This is a tricky time we are in,” said Kekula. “You feel like there is a bit of a calm, and then the wind picks up and off it goes again. I don’t want people to think we are out of the woods. It is getting hot and dry again; we wait and see what the weather does.”

Kekula said the best thing that could happen right now would be a significant amount of rain, but that isn’t in the forecast.

The Mount Eneas fire, last estimated at 1374 hectares, is still considered out of control.

Related: Update: Mount Eneas wildfire holds at 1,374 hectares

“Until we are confident that we have a containment around it, and are confident it won’t take off on us, it will remain out of control,” said Kekula.

“We do not have containment on these fires yet.”

That includes Goode’s Creek in Okanagan Mountain Park (400 hectares); Mount Conkle near Summerland (118 hectares); Law Creek near West Kelowna (10 hectares) and Placer Mountain, near Princeton (320 hectares).

“They are all unique. Because of that, we have to approach each one differently. We have 18 helicopters, we have over 200 firefighters and we have these resources we can move around to where we need,” said Kekula.

Related: Update: Wildfire near Summerland mapped at 118 hectares

Related: Update: Okanagan Mountain Park fire holds at 400 hectares

Related: Okanagan Wildfires: An evening update on wildfires and evacuations


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Just Posted

Open houses regarding transit between Penticton and Kelowna

The meetings will be held in Summerland, Princeton, Penticton, Peachland and Osoyoos on Dec. 4 and 5

Kelowna Rockets aim to start win streak in return to home ice

The Rockets are coming off a 6 game road trip, and face the Regina Pats Wednesday night

The Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra returns with winter concert

The performance will include a tribute to Amanda Todd

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read