July 28, 2014 - 8:30 AM
KELOWNA - Take a guess: How much water have fire crews dropped on the Smith Creek fire over the past week and a half?
Would you believe more than 1.2 million litres?
As of Monday morning helicopters had flown more than 100 hours, skimmers had dropped more than 300 loads of water and foam and 29 loads of retardant had been used on the fire, which began Thursday, July 17 and is believed to be human caused.
The fire forced evacuations early on, even when the fire was thought to be less than two hectares. It grew quickly and by that evening had grown to an estimated 200 ha before being estimated at 400 ha the next morning. One week later, crews had the fire down to 260 ha, completely contained and all evacuation orders were lifted.
Crew members have been camping out in local classrooms while they took shifts first steering the fire away from homes and now working on fuel management and assessing dangerous trees. An infrared scan helped them pinpoint hot spots needing attention and crews will continue working to put out every one.
A look at the fire and the resources that went into containing it:
- 608,125 litres of water dropped by helicopters.
- 280,679 litres of retardant (29 loads) used to create a guard around the fire.
- 630,277 litres of water and foam dropped in 313 loads by skimmers
- 100 hours, the amount of time helicopters spent in the air.
- Six kilometres of hose, 300 lengths, are being used to put out hot spots.
- 163 personnel on the fire at the peak, including B.C. Wildfire crew members, members from eight different fire departments and an Incident Management Team from Ontario.
- In total six air tankers, two bird dog aircrafts, 16 helicopters, four skimmers and at least 10 pieces of heavy machinery were used to control the blaze.
- 1,120 homes and 2,500 people were under evacuation order.
- 300’, the closest the fire got to a house.
- 400 ha, the amount the fire was thought to be at the peak, it was later mapped at 260 ha.
- 70%, the rate of person-caused fires in the Penticton Fire Zone this season.
- 27, the number of thank you signs counted in the nearby community so far.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
One of nearly 30 thank you signs posted around the community.
(JENNIFER STAHN /InfoTel Multimedia)
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014