For Immediate Release
August 31, 2003
10:00 AM

Ministry of Forests

progress on fires continues to be made

KELOWNA The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,100 hectares in size.  Resources in place include 640 fire-fighters, of which 310 are military personnel, 17 helicopters and 237 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire is estimated to be 70 per cent contained.  Crews were able to make good progress again yesterday, due to a lack of significant winds.

Burn off operations were conducted successfully yesterday afternoon to reinforce control lines on the east flank, in the Bellvue Creek area.  Crews continue to work to protect the metal trestle in this area, and to look at alternatives to keep the fire away from the wooden trestles.

Control line establishment and reinforcement through burn off is continuing on the south and east sections of the fire when ground and weather conditions are favourable.  Crews establishing control lines are supported by heavy equipment and aircraft.

Crews continue to reinforce control lines, mop up and patrol in the areas close to homes.

The weather conditions remain hot and dry with no chance of precipitation and northwest winds 10 to 15 kilometers per hour expected later today.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,300 hectares; resources include 490 fire fighters, of which 120 are military personnel, seven helicopters and 100 pieces of heavy equipment.

The fire is estimated to be 30 per cent contained.  All established control lines are secure and are holding during afternoon active fire behavior.

Crews are busy removing available fuels from between the control lines and the active fire front, usually through burn off.  Burn off operations are limited to either early morning or late afternoon when the local wind conditions are more stable and the humidity is higher.

A fire fighter was taken to hospital yesterday as a result of minor injuries received due to a fall in the steep terrain.

Safety for the fire fighters and the public is always the top priority.  The public is reminded to stay out of active fire fighting areas, and water craft operators need to ensure they remain close to the shoreline and avoid approaching helicopter areas and other floating aircraft.