An ominous scene overlooking the Mount Eneas fire between Peachland and Summerland Wednesday night. Photo: Instagram/Caillum Smith

Updated: Firefighters attacking Mt. Eneas Wildfire near Peachland from north and south

Crews continue to battle the 1,000 hectare Mount Eneas blaze south of Peachland

Update 2:37 p.m.

The B.C. Wildfire Service says it has a crew building a hand guard on the south flank of the Mt. Eneas Wildfire near Peachland, and another unit crew on the north flank.

The BCWS said with wind issues arising in the late afternoon each day, it is sending out aerial support earlier in the day now because flying conditions are more hazardous later when the wind kicks up.

The fire is located about four kilometres south of Peachland and has prompted the evacuation of 38 properties. Another 659 are currently on evacuation alert and residents in those properties are being advised they may have to leave at a moment’s notice.

The wildfire service says 40 firefighters are now battling the blaze, with support from air tankers and additional heavy equipment. More heavy equipment has been requested.

Helicopters are expected to bucket the fire today and the heavy equipment on hand is going in today to assist the ground crew fighting the flames.

The fire is still considered out of control.

Update: 11:40 p.m.

An evacuation order issued for three properties along Log Chute Road has been downgraded to an alert.

“303, 305 and 307 Log Chute Road (properties) have been changed to evacuation alert, meaning those residents can return to their property but must be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice,” according to the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre.

“Residents will be given as much advance notice as possible prior to evacuation; however, they may receive limited notice due to changing conditions,” it said in a news release.

Update: 11 a.m.

The Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland is being called “stable” this morning by the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre.

“The BC Wildfire Service classifies the Mt. Eneas as remaining out of control, as it now encompasses a number of fires in the area on the west side of Okanagan Lake. The fire is estimated at 1,000 hectares.

“BC Wildfire Service is devoting numerous personnel to fight the fire today, including multiple helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. All available resources are being applied to the fires in our area on a priority basis.

“A total of 1,735 individuals are affected by the blaze, with 41 properties on evacuation order and 656 properties on evacuation alert. For a map of all the affected properties on order or alert in the Central Okanagan, visit cordemergency.ca/map.

Update: 10 a.m.

“Today, one unit crew will continue to build handguards on the south flank of the fire and the other unit crew will be placed on the north flank. Wind issues arising at 6 p.m. each day have prompted earlier starts for aircraft since flying conditions become hazardous after 6 p.m.” according to BC Wildfire Service’s website.

The Mount Eneas wildfire, south of Peachland, is listed as 1,000 hectares in size and is causing traffic delays along Highway 97.

Update: 7:20 a.m.

Peachland fire chief Dennis Craig said the fire department has scaled back their efforts this morning, and are continuing to monitor the fire near Munro Lake Forest Service Road, which sits at six hectares in size, and will be stocking up resources to prepare for the heat of the day.

He said he couldn’t comment if any structures were lost last night in the Brent Road area, but said things were fairly quiet this morning.

Today, three task force crews are patrolling the area, Craig said.

Mayor Cindy Fortin said she signed the state of emergency last night because of the Mount Eneas and the Munro Lake wildfires.

Original:

The highway connecting Peachland and Summerland has reopened this morning, says Drive BC.

Highway 97, south of Peachland was opened and closed throughout the night as the Mount Eneas wildfire continues to burn in the area.

It has reopened this morning to single-lane alternating traffic with a police escort, DriveBC said.

As of Thursday, July 19, the wildfire burns at 1,000 hectares in size.

More than 1,000 Peachland residents have been placed on an evacuation alert south of Princeton Avenue and east to Highway 97. The District of Peachland declared a state of emergency, July 19 due to strong winds that increased wildfire behaviour. Three evacuation orders were also issued for properties on Log Chute Road.

A state of emergency was also declared in the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area, due to the wildfire.

“Four BC Wildfire Service personnel were onsite overnight last night along with members of the local fire department,” said BC Wildfire Service on its website.

Central Okanagan fire departments are assisting BC Wildfire Service crews, helping to battle the blaze, including members from the Lake Country Fire Department.

The Mount Eneas fire is one of three major wildfires currently burning in the Okanagan, with large fires near Summerland and on the other side of Okanagan Lake, in Okanagan Mountain Park, also burning out of control.

More to come.

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