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

Home fire displaces Okanagan tenants for “at least one night”

Firefighters able to contain fire to a single room

Motorcycle ride in memory of Penticton man

Motorcycle enthusiast was murdered in Kamloops earlier this year

Santa to kick off holiday season in West Kelowna

Saint Nick will be at two community events in West Kelowna at the beginning of December

Kelowna innkeeper’s fundraiser hits $1 million mark

This year’s Innkeeper’s Gala raises $84,080, pushing 30-year total to more than $1 million

Freezing rain, flurries possible for Central and North Okanagan

Risk of freezing rain tonight and Saturday morning in Central, North Okanagan and Connector

PHOTOS: NHL honours B.C. grandma’s battle against cancer in special match

Shea Theodore’s grandmother Kay Darlington dropped the puck at a special ‘Hockey Fights Cancer’ game

Two-vehicle crash at North Okanagan intersection

Truck and SUV involved at Alexis Park Drive and 43rd Avenue

Mosaic Forest Management announces forestry shutdown

Thousands of forestry workers in Coastal B.C. will be affected by ‘curtailment’

Nothing wrong with being mistaken for a sex trade worker

Twice in my life, I’ve been mistaken for a sex trade worker.… Continue reading

Support sought for senior dog at SPCA in North Okanagan

Teki came in underweight, had surgery to remove two painful lumps and dental work

Appeal dismissed for B.C. man who assaulted woman in ‘thoroughly modern’ fight over phone

‘Both were seeking evidence of cheating by the other,’ says B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo

Princeton pot plant owners concerned about fake website

We don’t want people thinking that’s our company.

Vandals target Cowork Penticton mural

‘Calliope’ is meant to be a simble for weaving separate parts together to form a community

Vernon’s homeless numbers see modest decrease

An annual fall survey found there are 151 homeless people in the city compared to 161 in 2018

Most Read