For Immediate Release
September 4, 2003
10:00 AM

Ministry of Forests

winds increase fire activity

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.

The fire grew by approximately 1,700 hectares in the last 24 hours, and is estimated to be 60 percent contained.

Yesterday’s winds in combination with the extremely dry forest created very volatile burning conditions and extreme fire behaviour.  The fire spread in a northeasterly direction between Bellevue Creek to Myra Canyon.

The fire has moved into the west side of Myra Canyon; two trestles on the Kettle Valley Railway were lost, an additional two were damaged.  The rest of the trestles are considered to be at risk.

No residential structures were lost overnight; crews continue to patrol and mop the north sector of the fire along with the structural firefighters.

Mop up and patrol operations are continuing on the east side which was not affected by yesterday’s fire spread.

The Vaseux fire is estimated to be 3,300 hectares in size.  Resources include 610 fire fighters, four helicopters and 89 pieces of heavy equipment.

Yesterday’s winds produced active fire and flare ups on the northeast sector; fire fighters were able to hold the fire within the established control lines with aerial support from helicopters.  The Dutton Creek canyon area is continuing to prove challenging for the crews, as control lines must be established using hand tools in the steep terrain.

Mop up operations continue in the Vasuex drainage.  Other control lines in the south sector are secure with few hot spots found in the southwest, west and north areas.

Crews continue to ensure continuous water supply and delivery to assist in the mop up operations.