For Immediate Release
September 4, 2003
7:00 PM

Ministry of Forests

Five Trestles destroyed by fire

KELOWNA – The Okanagan Mountain Park fire is estimated to be 22,840 hectares in size.  Resources in place include 650 fire-fighters, 19 helicopters and 197 pieces of heavy equipment.

At a 2:00 PM B.C. Forest Service Operations meeting today the following update was provided.

There has been a significant amount of damage done to the historic Kettle Valley Railway trestles.  The full extent of the damage is not known at this time due to the dense smoke within the Myra Canyon; however we do know that five trestles have been destroyed.  Every effort is being made to protect this very important piece of British Columbia’s heritage.

The complications that are adding to the intense fire behavior are the steep box canyon and the considerable amount of fuel, both natural and man-made.  These trestles are completely or partially made from creosoted timbers, which are like timbers soaked in kerosene.  Once these fuels are ignited, they are virtually impossible to extinguish.

The heavy lift helicopters worked to coat the trestles with long term fire retardant this morning.  Good progress was made but the effect of those efforts remains to be seen.

Crews worked to consolidate fire lines by burning off the forest fuels between the Kettle Valley right of way and the southern fire front.  These operations have been very successful today.