More ignitions expected at Keremeos Creek Fire Wednesday; Highway 3A could experience delays – Penticton News


UPDATE: 2:45 p.m.

BC Wildfire Service is planning a planned burn of about 200 hectares in the Yellow Lake and Sheep Creek area around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, taking advantage of mild winds and slightly cooler temperatures to fight the out-of-control Keremeos Creek Fire.

It will be very visible in the area and the highway may be slow for a while as it deals with rolling debris near Yellow Lake. It may be intermittently closed or delayed for brief periods.

“Rolling debris can be anything, rocks, trees, anything that has come off a hill, due to activity along the hill,” said Marg Drysdale, head of the information from the BCWS, during a briefing on Wednesday.

“If you have steep slopes, that happens a lot and our crews actually deal with that a lot, just because for them it can be a safety issue, if they’re down there. And they’re taught to be very careful and not to be in an area where there is debris that can fall on them, but obviously they have deposited debris on the road, and they will deal with it.”

Drysdale said they were lucky to have so much support on hand.

“Today we have 252 firefighters [on the wildfire,]said Drysdale, a mix of BCWS firefighters and all-inland fire departments.

“We have 10 helicopters on site and four pieces of heavy equipment. There will be additional heavy equipment in the coming days.”

The size of the wildfire is still listed at 2,790 hectares, and according to Drysdale, that may not be updated for about 24 hours from now due to smoky areas of the blaze making mapping difficult.

Crews are considering a four to five day window of good firefighting conditions before significant heat returns. Drysdale says they are capitalizing on this window.

“That’s one of the reasons we have so many resources on this fire now. They can do a really good job in a short time and get things done really quickly,” Drysdale said.

In the Okanagan Similkameen Regional District, 324 properties are under evacuation orders and 479 are under evacuation orders.

Residents are eager to get back to their evacuated properties and Drysdale said BCWS understands and is doing everything it can.

“We understand how stressful it is for people to leave their homes. We take this very seriously. We are lifting orders and alerts as soon as we are able to do so,” Drysdale explained.

BCWS and RDOS worked closely with Chief Greg Gabriel of the Penticton Indian Band, among other band members and members of the Lower and Upper Similkameen Band.

“It’s that relationship between the First Nations community and the emergency service agencies that helps when this type of issue arises,” Gabriel said.

“[It] helps facilitate in some ways the possibility of attacking these events in different ways. »

BCWS is unable to predict the potential longevity of the fire.

“But what I can say is that with the number of resources and the conditions that we have now, we are making fabulous progress and we expect to make great progress over the next few days,” Drysdale said. .

Gabriel echoed the sentiment and added his gratitude to everyone working on the fire.

“I just want to make sure everyone really recognizes everyone involved in keeping our community safe, especially the firefighters who are on the ground right now,” Gabriel said.

For more information on alerts and evacuation orders and to access an interactive map where you can enter your address to find out if the wildfire affects you, click here.

UPDATE: 2 p.m.

The Okanagan Similkameen Regional District Emergency Operations Center provides an update on the wildfire at 2 p.m.

Watch live above.

UPDATE: 11:00 a.m.

Additional evacuation alerts have been added regarding the Keremeos Creek Wildfire.

A total of 41 properties, most in the Grand Oro Road area in Election Zones G and I as well as two other properties along Highway 3A were added to the alert.

Total number of properties under evacuation order: 324
Total number of properties under evacuation alert: 479

RDOS Emergency Support Services registered 157 residents. Fifty-five are staying in local hotel rooms, and another 10 are living in local homes.

The ESS indicates that group hosting is established but not in use at this time.

A welcome center for evacuees is available at Princess Margaret High School at 120 Green Ave in Penticton. This visitor center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

For a full list of affected properties and updates on alerts and evacuation orders, click here.

ORIGINAL: 9:40 a.m.

BC Wildfire Service continues to attack the Keremeos Creek wildfire, which as of Wednesday morning is still estimated at 2,790 hectares.

It is still listed as out of control. The fire is near Highway 3A in Yellow Lake, so while it was closed Tuesday, crews performed small, planned ignitions.

A line of control is advancing along the highway, which will limit growth and allow teams to safely access and establish containment lines.

Further planned ignitions are being prepared on the eastern flank of the fire within the next 24 hours.

More than 320 properties in the area of ​​the fire, including Apex Mountain Resort, remain under evacuation orders and hundreds more are on high alert. Find a full list of orders and alerts here and information for evacuees here.

The resources attacking this fire are now:

  • 137 firefighters
  • 10 helicopters
  • Four heavy equipment
  • 137 wildland firefighters are assigned to this fire along with 115 other structural protection personnel from the BC Fire Services for a total complement of 252 firefighters.

Structure protection will be established where and as needed as crews move forward with scheduled ignitions along Route 3A.

Additional crews are establishing lines of control from Green Mountain Road west and preparing Cedar Creek Road for possible burning operations.

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