UPDATE: Peachland fire holds despite challenging winds

Fire crews have set up an incident command at the Penticton airport for blaze, south of Kelowna

UPDATE: 4:45 p.m.

The BC Wildfire Service says that despite relatively strong winds this afternoon, the fire has held within the 1,500-hectare perimeter.

Fire information officer Heather Rice says winds are coming in from the north so the crews biggest challenge is currently the south flank of the fire, in the north Garnet Valley area.

Despite the challenging winds, firefighters are holding the southern line.

“It all depends on the wind, every time the wind shifts, so does the fire and fire activity,” adds Rice.

Firefighters continue to battle the blaze with air support.

—-

UPDATE: 1:30 p.m.

The Finlay Creek wildfire near Peachland is still pegged at 1,500 hectares as of Monday afternoon.

Fire information officer Heather Rice says crews are witnessing increased fire activity this afternoon as winds pick up in the area.

She says residents can expect to see new plumes of smoke due to the increased activity.

Fire personnel on the ground are actioning the fire with help from helicopters and skimmers.

The fire is currently displaying rank three or four behaviour with open flame and candling.

More firefighters are en route to the scene.

—-

ORIGINAL:

The Peachland wildfire is burning out of control at an estimated 1,500 hectares, but did not increase substantially overnight.

The BC Wildfire Service says it was able to get a better estimate of the size and now puts the blaze closer to 1,500 hectares, more than what they estimated yesterday.

But fire information officer Heather Rice says most of that growth occurred overnight Saturday when winds fanned the fire and it increased substantially.

“It was quite smoky yesterday so we are now able to get a better estimate on the size,” said Rice. “There was no growth overnight or yesterday. On Saturday night it was quite windy but last night the winds were calmer.”

Related: Wildfire sparks near Little White Mountain

The fire rapidly spread from 100 hectares to 1,500 overnight Saturday.

All evacuation alerts remain in place. A detailed map is available showing the approximately 306 affected properties in the Central Okanagan at www.cordemergency.ca.

Air crews are back dumping water and fire retardant on the fire that began at Finlay Creek southwest of Peachland and burned to the south, causing evacuation alerts near Peachland and evacuation orders near Summerland.

Related: Summerland area evacuation area expanded with alert

There are 18 fire crews on the ground as well as three helicopters and four air tankers on the fire this morning.

“We are continuing to see some open flame and aggressive fire behaviour but not a lot of growth,” said Rice. “Most of the fire behaviour is in the confines of the current size.”

Related: Okanagan air quality plummets as fires rage

With a new fire sparked in the area, Rice urged people to stay out of the back-country on this last day of the long weekend.

“People are asked to stay away from the fire and even though there is not a backcountry restriction, people should perhaps not spend the day in the backcountry,” she said. “We’re seeing very extreme fire hazard and risk so it’s best for people to stay out of firefighters way and stay out of the backcountry.”

Related: Kault Hill wildfire ‘under control’


 

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