For Immediate Release
September 5, 2003
11:00 AM

Ministry of Forests

more trestles lost

KELOWNA The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 23, 600 hectares in size.  Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 20 helicopters and 200 pieces of heavy equipment.

Warm and windy conditions in the higher elevations contributed to the 800 hectare increase in fire size.  The fire spread was mainly in the upper portions of Myra Canyon and above the Kettle Valley Railway to the east.  There are no residences in this area.

Unfortunately additional trestles have been lost and others are at risk.  At this time six wooden trestles have been lost and two others have been damaged.

Some burn off operations were conducted yesterday morning along the Kettle Valley Railway, the flames and smoke were visible from Kelowna.  This burn off was successful in reinforcing the control lines along the northern perimeter of the fire; the section that is south of residential subdivisions.

The weather forecast calls for mainly sunny, with warm temperatures along with southwesterly winds in the higher elevations of 25 kilometers per hour and occasional gusts to 35 kilometers per hour.

Temperatures over the last few days were 10 degrees above normals for this time period and were at or near record highs.  This is consistent with a summer that has set drought records in much of Southern Interior.

The summer of 2003 was the driest since records began in 1899.  Kelowna has set a record for consecutive days without precipitation (44) between June 22nd and August 6th.