For Immediate Release
September 1, 2003
10:00 AM

Ministry of Forests

winds expected to increase

KELOWNA – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,400 hectares in size.  Resources in place include 633 fire-fighters, 17 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment. 

The fire is still estimated at 70 per cent contained.  The wind speeds have increased over the last three days, with yesterdays high elevation winds the fire spread further on the north side of Bellevue Creek.  This fire spread has brought the front line closer to the metal trestle. Fire officials continue to reassess the fire behavior and identify alternatives to contain the spread in the Bellevue Creek area and to protect the trestle there.

Crews are continuing control line construction in the east sector of the fire.  Burn off operations will be used to reinforce the control lines as weather and ground conditions allow.  All control line construction is being supported by equipment and aircraft.

Personnel trained in the assessment and removal of ‘danger trees’ are working in the high use residential areas, as 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.  Winds are expected to be variable north to northwest at 15 kilometers per hour with occasional gusts to 24 kilometers per hour.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,300 hectares; resources include 610 fire fighters, of which 200 are military personnel, six helicopters and 100 pieces of heavy equipment.

Crews continue to make good progress in most sectors of the fire.  The steep terrain on the south flank continues to pose challenges to the fire fighters, and the fire has moved slowly down the slope towards Vaseux Creek. 

Mop up activities along the northeast side of the fire remain a priority.  Control lines are not tight to the fire front and dry fuels that have not yet burnt remain within many hot spot areas.