another good day on the fire line

KELOWNA – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,000 hectares in size, resources in place include 600 fire-fighters, of which 350 are military personnel, 18 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment.  Air tankers will provide support as required and as smoke conditions allow.

At this time fire officials are saying this fire is 60% contained, 30% of this can be attributed to the lake shore, and that fire activity is generally stable.

Some northerly winds late yesterday afternoon caused some flare-ups.  All the control lines held last night, and today’s effort will be too strengthen the existing lines and establish new ones as needed.  The north east quadrant in the vicinity of June Springs Road remains an area of concern.  The terrain is very rugged and crews work to continue to reinforce the control lines that have been established in this area. These lines will continue to be challenged by active fire behavior, especially if windy conditions occur.  Helicopter bucketing and air tankers were used extensively to cool flare ups and hot spots and establish retardant lines in support of ground crews.  In addition mop up operations made good progress yesterday in cooperation with the fire department crews within the impacted subdivision south of Kelowna.

The southern sector remains stable with all control lines holding.  If the winds remain quiet over the next few days, burning off to strengthen the control lines will be utilized.  Crews continue aggressive mop up operations in this sector of the fire.

The Vaseux Lake fire is estimated at 2,300 hectares in size, resources include 147 fire-fighters, 6 helicopters and 49 pieces of heavy equipment.

Crews focused on the southern front of the fire at Dutton Creek, and with air tanker support worked on establishing a control line on the south side of Dutton Creek canyon.  The fire was very active in this area and is spreading east and north east up the canyon.  Work continues on mop up along the fire perimeter on the south west, west and north west sides.  The control lines are secure in the areas closest to the populated areas and the Weyerhaeuser Okanagan Falls mill.

The following road closures that have resulted due to this fire are still in effect:
Allendale Forest Service Road at the Okanagan Falls dump;
Road 201 at the Weyerhaeuser mill
Road 200 from the Road 201 to the Dutton (McIntyre Creek) intersection
Dutton Creek Road (McIntyre Road) at Highway 97.

The weather forecast for the Okanagan area calls for sun and cloud, light winds and very low chance of showers later today.  With no indication of significant rainfall in the foreseeable future in this area we are anticipating continued extreme fire risk and the potential for extreme fire behavior in specific situations.

Safety for our fire fighters is always our top priority.  British Columbia Forest Service fire fighters are trained professionals, and have the ability to work in extreme conditions.  Time on the fire line is normally limited to 12 hours, although this may be exceeded in exceptional circumstances if the Incident Commander feels it is safe.  To date we have had no reports of any serious injuries amongst the forest service fire fighters.