Fire crews fighting wildfire on Penticton Indian Reserve

Crews from the forest service and Penticton Indian Band remain on scene at a fire near Shingle Creek.




Crews are expected to have a wildfire near Shingle Creek on the Penticton Indian Reserve substantially contained by noon Tuesday.

Fire information officer Kelsey Winter reported Tuesday morning the wildfire, believed to have been human caused, was called in about 3:30 p.m. Monday.

“The containment number we have right now is five per cent but we’re sending some ground equipment so we’re hoping to up that containment number,” said Winter, who added provincial forestry wildfire workers were expected to be on scene for the rest of the day and likely overnight. “Currently there’s 20 personnel there and they are going to be working on mop up and control.”

The nearest structure was about 400 metres from the fire however because the flames were blowing away from the buildings there were no evacuations.

Green Mountain Road was closed for a period of time Monday.

At last report the fire, burning in open timber and grasslands, had reached 17 hectares in size. Winter credited the quick response for keeping it from spreading more.

“Initially it was rank three which is a moderately vigorous fire and then it reduced to rank two and rank one once we got all our air support (two tankers and three helicopters) on it,” she said. “That’s what we’re focussing on right now is the initial attack and trying to catch these when they’re still in that stage.”

Throughout Monday afternoon and evening, members of the Penticton Indian Band volunteer fire department worked alongside forestry firefighters to battle the blaze.

Smoke from the fire blanketed the region overnight and the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Environment Canada Tuesday morning issued a special air quality wildfire smoke advisory for the entire Okanagan, including Penticton.

The advisory states persons with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted.

As well, anyone who experiences symptoms such as continuing eye or throat irritation, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, coughing, especially the elderly of those suffering from breathing-related disorders are advised to seek the advice of their health care provider.

Environment Canada is calling for a chance of thunderstorms and some precipitation for Tuesday and into Wednesday.