Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire now an estimated 400 hectares

BC Wildfire is on scene of what is being called the Good Creek blaze

UPDATE: 8:38 p.m.

The Good Creek wildfire burning in Okanagan Mountain Park is now an estimated 400 hectares, an increase of 60 hectares since 4:30 p.m.

BC Wildfire Service is responding with 21 personnel and helicopter support.

Fire suppression will focus on the area near Lakeshore Road, as the blaze is an interface fire.

An evacuation alert has been issued by the Central Okanagan Regional District.

———-

UPDATE: 4:35 p.m.

The Good Creek fire burning in Okanagan Mountain Park is now estimated at 340 hectares in size.

Noelle Kekula, with BC Wildfire Service, is heading up the incident command centre for the Okanagan wildfires.

Kekula says while Good Creek is a priority fire it is burning in the same area of the 2003 wildfire.

“There is not a lot of fuel in the area, so there won’t be much fire behaviour,” she said. “We are still treating this fire as serious.”

There are currently no ground crews working the Good Creek blaze, only helicopters that are bucketing from Okanagan Lake.

“There has been a request for more resources and we are currently priorities where these crews will go.”

Kekula explains BC Wildfire priority is first and foremost life and property.

“Where life and property is at risk then that is where we put our resources. We are not putting one fire over the other, but we have to triage and make a priority list.”

——

Update: 1:40 p.m.

Jody Lucius, fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, said an update on the fire’s size will be available in roughly in the next hour and growth is expected with today’s winds and hot weather.

A campfire ban is not currently in effect in the Kamloops Fire Centre’s jurisdiction.

Criteria to determine bans include the number of active fires, forecasted weather, current weather and forest fuels, Lucius said. With a wetter June it’s taken time for the fuels to dry out, so the Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes the Okanagan, will likely see a ban in effect sometime within the next week, Lucius said.

“The fires we’re seeing right now are mostly lightning caused,” she said.

It wasn’t until Wednesday, that Peachland residents reported seeing water being dropped on the wildfire.

“That one comes down to the number of fires we received in that area in a short time. It’s a matter of all of our resources available to us deployed out into various fires in the area and we are bringing in additional resources elsewhere in the province and within our fire centre but that takes some time. Really it’s a matter of where can we have the most impact with the resources that we had to set priorities,” Lucius said.

Lucius said fire crews were prepared for an average lightning storm, as the weather forecast was for a potential lightning storm, but this storm was bigger than anticipated.

Update: 9:10 a.m.

According to the BC Wildfire Service’s website, “Helicopters will bucket on this fire today and additional resources are en route to the fire today. Today’s fire suppression activities will focus on the area near Lakeshore Road. We are coordinating our response with the City of Kelowna and CORD.”

Update: 8:50 a.m.

Crews continue to work on the Good Creek wildfire in Okanagan Mountain Park today, according to the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations centre in a news release.

Fire suppression will include activity from the ground and air. As water bombers will be active in both areas, people are reminded to stay clear so that crews can do their job safely, the release said.

Both fires are estimated at 200 hectares. It is expected that BC Wildfire Service will update this estimate later today.

All evacuation alerts and orders remain in effect. For a map of the affected properties in the Central Okanagan, visit cordemergency.ca/map.

For more information on properties on evacuation order and alert within the boundaries of the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, visit rdos.bc.ca.

For highway updates, visit the DriveBC website.

An Emergency Support Services (ESS) reception centre for evacuated residents is located at the Lakeview Heights Baptist Church, 2630 Alhambra Drive in West Kelowna. ESS volunteers will be available starting at 8:30 a.m. this morning to help affected Central Okanagan residents. Residents that are evacuated from their homes must report to the reception centre to receive any assistance and lodging, the release said.

Update: 7:45 a.m.

All is quiet this morning in the Lakeshore Road area.

One security guard has been on-duty since last night and will end his shift at 8 a.m. The end of the road is open to local traffic only and a barricade has been put in place.

Original:

Wildfires continue to burn near Peachland this morning, including the fire that started from a lightning strike in Okanagan Mountain Park, July 17.

The wildfire has reached 200 hectares in size, as of July 19, and evacuation alerts have been issued for have been issued for properties along Lakeshore Road.

The wildfire is also being called the Good Creek wildfire.

The story will be updated as more information becomes available.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

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An Emergency Support Services (ESS) reception centre for evacuated residents is located at the Lakeview Heights Baptist Church, 2630 Alhambra Drive in West Kelowna. -Al Waters/Capital News

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