Update: South Okanagan wildfire now estimated to be 225 hectares

Fire is in the Gallagher Lake area, north of Oliver

Update Monday, Aug, 5 at 9:20 p.m.

BC Wildfire now estimates the size of the Eagle Bluff wildfire at 225 hectares and describes it as an interface fire.

At present, 100 people have been assigned to the fire and will arrive on site throughout the day.

Two water tenders are on site. Eight helicopters and air tankers are continuing to support ground crews.

An evacuation alert is in effect for the fire 10 kilometres southeast of Okanagan Falls. The wildfire service has recommended an evacuation alert to the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen for Electoral Area C and to the Osoyoos Indian Band.

Crews will continue operating 24 hours a day until further notice, and 20 personnel will remain at the site overnight tonight.

Update: Monday, Aug. 5 at 2:50 p.m.

BC Wildfire is now estimating the Eagle Bluff wildfire to be an estimated 200 hectares.

bombers

Aerial resources have provided more accurate information on the size the fire as more suppression support has been activated. A total of eight helicopters as well as airtankers are working with ground crews.

Along with a structure protection specialist, structure protection units have been deployed to the wildfire which is just north or Oliver (10 kilometres southeast of Okanagan Falls) in the Gallagher Lake area.

Crews will be operating 24 hours a day until further notice.

Earlier this afternoon Interior Health issued a smoky skies bulletin for the South Okanagan.

READ MORE: Smoky skies bulletin for South Okanagan due to wildfires

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Update: Monday, Aug. 5 at 12:45 p.m.

The property manager at Gallagher Lake Resort said, like many, he was set off by the familiar smell of wildfire smoke on Sunday evening.

It was around 9 p.m. when he first was signalled of the wildfire, now being called Eagle Bluff by BC Wildfire, and made the call to 911.

READ MORE: Raptors evacuated due to threatening South Okanagan wildfire

“It was directly north, with nothing between us and it. However, as the night went on I was pretty confident it was migrating the other way where it should naturally into MacIntyre Canyon,” said the resort manager, Jamie Cox.

With over 550 people on the property, and all of their 151 sites occupied, Cox said he has seen only eight to 10 depart. However, he said they haven’t gone far and indicated they did want to return.

“Everyone is holding fast. The lake is gorgeous here, kids are eating ice cream and helicopters are flying overhead. I am just doing my best to keep people informed anytime I find out anything new and telling people to enjoy their visit and bear with us,” said Cox, who noted it appears the bulk of the fire suppression is taking place on the other side of the mountain.

BC Wildfire said on Monday afternoon that it is estimated the fire is 120 hectares and they have 100 personnel assigned to it that will arrive throughout the day. As well there is two pieces of heavy equipment, six helicopters mobilized and additional air support will be available throughout the day as required.

A structure protection specialist has been activated and will be working downslope to assess residences in the area.

BC Wildfire said resources are continually challenged by the steep and rocky terrain in the area and site safety is a priority.

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Update: Monday, Aug. 5 at 10:14 a.m.

BC Wildfire said they will have an additional 80 personnel dispatched to the Eagle Bluff wildfire, north of Oliver.

Taylor MacDonald, fire information officer, said 10 BC Wildfire personnel responded last night and four remained overnight working the fire which she believed was mainly in open grass and in the trees.

“I think the process for getting moving on air support is starting as they are putting together the plan for fire suppression today. I do know that air support is available,” said MacDonald.

FortisBC is currently on site assessing the impacts to hydro infrastructure and ensuring safety to the ground crews.

Erick Thompson, information officer for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, said the evacuation alert still remains for several properties within Area C.

Osoyoos, Oliver and Penticton search and rescue team members, along with the RCMP, handed out alert notices to residents from about 3 to 10 a.m. on Monday asking residents to continue to watch BC Wildfire and the RDOS emergency operations websites.

“RCMP are asking people travelling through the area to not stop to try and take photos. There have been a number of people stopping on the highway to do so and it is not a safe situation,” said Thompson.

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Update: Monday, Aug. 5 at 7:20 a.m.

Evacuation alerts remain in place for what BC Wildfire is now calling the Eagle Bluff wildfire, north of Oliver near Gallagher Lake.

The fire, which was discovered on Sunday night, is estimated to be 120 hectares.

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Update Monday, Aug. 5 at 2:30 a.m.

An evacuation alert has been issued for Area C by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen due to the wildfire north ofOliver.

“We have issued an evacuation alert for several properties and we are still in the process of assessing and determining whatthe alert area will be and how many properties it affects,” said Erick Thompson, information officer with the RDOS emergency operations centre.

All properties on the east side of Highway 97, extending south from McIntyre Creek Road to James Way south of GallagherLake — including Brauns Road and Gallagher Lake Road. According to the RDOS this includes all properties on James Way and extending southeast to McKinney Road at Manuels Creek Road and north along the west side of Manuels Creek Road to approximately 3.5 kilometres on McIntyre Creek Road.

Additional properties in the region may potentially be impacted.

BC Wildfire and the RDOS emergency operations centre are actively assessing the situation and should conditions deteriorate, evacuation orders may be issued for affected residents.

The emergency operations centre said property owners will be given as much advance notice as possible should an evacuation order be put into place, however you may receive limited notice due to changing conditions. They strongly advise to prepare for an evacuation order.

“It is still early on, however the key thing is to be prepared and to monitor BC Wildfire website and the emergency operations website,” said Thompson.

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The Oliver fire department said a wildfire in the Gallagher Lake area is compromising power in the area.

BC Wildfire listed a fire starting on Sunday in the Irrigation Creek area.

According to information from the Oliver fire department, around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, BC Wildfire is responding to the wildfire and residents in the area should be aware and take precautions should there be any changes in the fire activity or a change in direction.

Some comments from people in the area said the fire is burning north of Gallagher Lake, across from McIntyre Bluff.

Do you have photos or video of the fire? Send them to newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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