A helicopter delivers water onto the White Rock Lake wildfire burning near Westwold on July 24. (BC Wildfire Services)

A helicopter delivers water onto the White Rock Lake wildfire burning near Westwold on July 24. (BC Wildfire Services)

UPDATE: Kelowna International Airport flights cancelled due to White Rock Lake wildfire

Several North Westside properties have been ordered evacuated due to 32,000 hectare wildfire

Update: 8:41 p.m.

All scheduled flights at the Kelowna International Airport have been cancelled this evening due to the White Rock Lake fire.

“The White Rock Lake fire boundary has moved east to Lake Okanagan with a no-fly zone up to 10,000 feet above sea level – this is affecting the instrument approaches into the airport,” said airport senior operations manager Phillip Elchitz.

“As with any adverse weather situations, travellers are reminded to check in with their airline for the most up-to-date flight information before coming to the airport.”

The fire remains at 32,000 hectares. Several evacuation orders have been issued for homes on the North Westside.

READ MORE: More evacuation orders as White Rock Lake wildfire grows

Update: 7:10 p.m.

The White Rock Lake fire has grown to 32,000 ha because of aggressive fire behaviour on the evening of Saturday, July 31.

Showers with a chance of thunderstorms are predicted for the area bringing clouds and temperatures down to 20 degrees. Extreme burning conditions will remain until additional moisture and clouds come to the area. There may be a slight reprieve in fire behaviour over the next 48 hours depending on precipitation amounts.

Update: 6:53 p.m.

The City of Armstrong and the Township of Spallumcheen have activated emergency social services for evacuees from the White Rock Lake fire.

The fairgrounds will be utilized to help those who have been impacted by the evacuations.

“We are requesting the public’s assistance in respecting the privacy of those affected and are asking the public to use other municipal properties and parks at this time,” said the City of Armstrong in a statement.

Those affected by the evacuations are asked to contact each Regional District or First Nations Band office directly.

Original:

With the fire growing and four regional districts and a local First Nations band involved, the B.C. Wildfire Service is moving its incident command post on the White Rock Lake Wildfire from Penticton to Vernon.

No specific date for the move has been set.

“In the near future, our incident management team will be relocating to Vernon where we will be better situated to manage the White Rock Lake incident,” said fire information officer Hannah Swift during a weekend update on the blaze near Westwold.

Swift said Sunday, Aug. 1, there was an aggressive overnight fire growth observed along the south flank where much of the fire perimeter crossed the Salmon River Forest Service Road, which upgraded the size of the fire to 32,000 hectares.

Evacuation orders and alerts issued by Regional District of North Okanagan, Columbia Shuswap Regional District, Okanagan Indian Band, Central Okanagan Regional District and Thompson Nicola Regional District remain in effect.

OKIB issued another evacuation order Sunday, Aug. 1, for a number of properties on the southwest side of Okanagan Lake near Parkers Cove and Whiteman’s Creek areas.

The BC Wildfire Service has implemented an Area Restriction Order in the vicinity of the White Rock Lake wildfire. This Area Restriction Order took effect at noon, July 27, and will remain in place until noon, Oct. 15, or until it is rescinded.

A total of 99 firefighters, 10 helicopters, seven danger tree assessors/fallers, 39 pieces of heavy equipment, 10 support staff and a BCWS incident management team are working on the fire.

BCWS also issued an update on the Bunting Road fire 41 kilometres northeast of Lumby Sunday, Aug. 1, at 1:40 p.m.

The fire is listed at 4,932 hectares in size and classified as Out of Control.

“Fire crews have reported seeing people drive past closures into the active fire area, creating a safety hazard not only to themselves but also to the responders in this active worksite,” said BCWS.

Helicopters have been grounded due to visibility from the heavy smoke in the area.

Very steep terrain in heavy fuel types and the fire continues to strip up and roll down as it makes its way south.

An evacuation order for the 66 properties from the 10,0000 block to 17,000 block of Mabel Lake Forest Service Road – including properties known as Cottonwoods – remains in effect, and the Mabel Lake Forest Service Road remains closed.

READ MORE: Okanagan Indian Band issues evacuation order for several North Westside properties



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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B.C. Wildfires 2021