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Wildfire near Penticton much calmer but evacuation orders remain

There are 75 firefighters responding to the Upper Park Rill fire
BC Wildfire did a small scale ignition last Sunday to provide a guard on the Upper Park Rill Creek wildfire in Twin Lakes. Local resident Jodie Conti took this picture Sunday at Twin Lakes and White Lake Roads.

With little wind and cooler temperatures, the Upper Park Rill Creek wildfire in Twin Lakes has calmed down since it exploded last Friday morning.

Wind spread the fire so quickly that immediate evacuation orders were issued to hundreds of properties.

Since Friday, BC Wildfire, numerous municipal fire crews from across B.C. and out of country firefighters have been battling this blaze that has threatened homes in the Twin Lakes area.

Luckily, winds have calmed and the smoke has brought cooler temperatures as of Monday.

“We’ve seen no significant changes to the fire with fire behaviour minimal overnight (Sunday),” said fire information officer Casda Thomas on Monday.

As of Monday, the human-caused fire remained at an estimated 1,090 hectares, but that size hadn’t changed in a couple days due to smoke.

“The heavy smoke is hampering our ability to get a proper assessment of the size. We are expected the smoke to clear a bit on Tuesday, so we will have a better picture then,” Thomas said.

As of Aug. 21, there were 257 properties on evacuation.

An additional 246 properties were still under evacuation alert. The properties on evacuation order and alert stretch through three different areas in the regional district, including rural Keremeos.

A reception centre has been set up at Princess Margaret Secondary in Penticton for all evacuees.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen says more than 350 evacuees have registered for support so far.

On Sunday, BC Wildfire did some small scale ignitions that were visible to residents not evacuated. “These are routine small-scale hand ignitions to reinforce existing guards,” said Thomas.

READ MORE: People will see flames from planned ignition on wildfire near Penticton

There are 75 firefighters responding to this out of control wildfire along with structural protection crews. The most growth of this fire is burning in inaccessible terrain, she said.

“Crews are tired but reinforcements are offering relief,” said Thomas.

“It is very smoky in the area so it has been challenging for our aerial crews. Once the smoke clears a bit we’ll have helicopters responding,” Thomas added.

Willowbrook water users are being asked to restrict water use to ensure water is available to fight the Upper Park Rill blaze.

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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