hot and dry conditions concern officials

KELOWNA – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,100 hectares in size.  Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, of which 400 are military personnel, 18 helicopters and 250 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire is estimated to be 70% contained.  Favourable weather conditions allowed for good progress to be made on the fire lines yesterday.  The fire remained stable overnight, with all control lines holding.

Even with the progress being made, Fire Officials are remaining cautious. Yesterday’s precipitation is not expected to have an impact on the fire danger, as forest fuels will dry quickly today with the rising temperatures.  Winds are expected to be light today, however with lower humidity’s flare ups can be expected and these will be visible from Kelowna.

The northeast sector adjacent to June Springs continues to be an area of concern.  Crews continue to work on establishing and reinforcing control lines.

Fire fighters are working to ensure that the fire does not spread towards the trestles along the Kettle Valley Railway.  The weather needs to remain stable to allow crews to establish the control line along the eastern flank.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,200 hectares; resources include 225 fire fighters, seven helicopters and 86 pieces of heavy equipment.

Calm wind conditions overnight have limited the spread of the fire which is 30% contained.  Yesterday, crews completed 4.5 kilometers of control line using hand tools, along the Dutton-Vaseux ridge.  Early last evening a successful burn off has reinforced these control lines.

Mop up operations are a priority along the control lines on the southwest, west and northwest boundaries of the fire.  Crews are patrolling these lines and putting out all hot spots.

Road closures remain in effect, and security is posted at the sites for public safety.

Today’s weather forecast is calling for light winds, hot and dry conditions, with no chance of precipitation.

Forests and grasslands are tinder dry due to continuing high temperatures, low humidity levels and a prolonged period without rain. In these conditions, the smallest spark can start a new wildfire. While open flames or cigarettes are obvious risks, people should be aware that overheated exhaust pipes or metal parts on vehicles that strike rocks could start new fires.

To report a wildfire, call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks.