For Immediate Release
September 2, 2003
10:00 AM

Ministry of Forests

fire spread due to increasing winds

KELOWNA The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 20,900 hectares in size.  Resources in place include 686 fire-fighters, 18 helicopters and 176 pieces of heavy equipment.  Extensive air support was provided to the crews yesterday by a Martin Mars air tanker as well as a number of CL-415s.    

The fire is still estimated at 70 per cent contained.  Control lines in the south, southeast, north and northeast sectors continue to hold, and crews continue to reinforce these lines and mop up in these areas.  Mop up and patrol operations are continuing in the residential areas.

The fire spread in the last few days has been  a result of an increase in the winds.  These winds have been from the west and northwest, so the fire has moved in an east and southeast direction away from Kelowna.

The fire is four to five kilometers away from the Myra Canyon Kettle Valley Railroad trestles and is not moving any closer in that direction.  Forecasted winds from the north, together with the ground conditions are predicted to keep the fire from burning toward Myra Canyon.

The steel trestle in Bellevue Canyon remains a concern, the fire is burning the ridges above and parallel to the main canyon at this time.

The weather conditions remain hot and dry with no chance of precipitation.  Winds are expected to be from the north at 15 kilometers per hour.

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

This fire is now estimated to be 40 per cent contained.  Yesterday was a good day on all sectors.  The Dutton Creek Canyon area still presents a problem for reinforcing the control line due to large amount of dry fuels on the ground and steep terrain and canyon walls. 

A burn off operation from Vaseux Creek to reinforce the southeast corner was completed successfully.

High temperatures, low humidity and the predicted winds may produce extreme fire behavior later this afternoon.