With cooler temperatures in the forecast, the Keremeos Creek wildfire will undergo planned ignitions, says the BC Wildfire Service.
Located around 21 kilometres southwest of Penticton, and six km southeast of Apex Mountain Resort, the blaze is currently estimated to be 2,790 hectares in size.
However, Wednesday afternoon’s controlled burn in the Yellow Lake and Sheep Creek area could increase that by 200 hectares or so. BCWS says the extra burning shouldn’t impact Highway 3A between Keremeos and Kaleden, but it will be highly visible.
“It is cooler than it has been in the last few days,” said Marg Drysdale, BCWS fire information officer, adding wind isn’t much of a factor right now, stating “they’re pretty flat at the moment.”
Drysdale added, though, that crews are looking at a four- to five-day window of lower winds and cooler temperatures before “it’s expected to become hot again.”
The blaze has spawned evacuation alerts and orders.
Within the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, there are 324 properties on evacuation order and 479 properties on evacuation alert. Also, the Penticton Indian Band has issued an evacuation alert for 11 properties.
BC Wildfire says there are 252 firefighters on scene — 137 wildland firefighters and 115 structural protection personnel — plus 10 helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment.
For Wednesday, BCWS said crews were planning to reinforce containment lines from Highway 3A to Sheep Creek staging, as conditions allow.
“We are definitely concentrating a lot of effort on the southeastern side of the fire,” said Marg Drysdale of BCWS.
Drysdale noted that people were stopping to take pictures of the fire, and that can be a concern for safety and infrastructure.
“It’s not good to be stopping in an area like that when you have a lot of smoke in the area,” said Drysdale. “There may be other travellers who can’t see you on the roadways.”
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