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UPDATE: B.C. Wildfire to let human-caused blaze across from Peachland burn under a watchful eye

Smoke issues from a small wildfire across Okanagan Lake.
October 02, 2017 - 4:13 PM

PEACHLAND - Wildfire officials have confirmed they will not mount a full response to the small fire burning north of Rattlesnake Island near the shoreline of Okanagan Lake.

While the two-hectare fire has been burning since early this morning, Oct. 2, B.C. Wildfire has not responded at this point, other than to monitor its behaviour and establish an area past which it won't be allowed to burn.

Fire information officer Justine Hunse says B.C. Wildfire is using what is known in firefighting circles as a modified response where the fire will be allowed to burn within a defined area.

“This is not an uncommon approach. We typically see it during peak fire season. It is typically less visible to the public but rest assured we are still playing an active role in the management of the fire,” Hunse added.

Hunse says the location of the fire — burning within the same area as the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park fire — is sure to make some people nervous.

"We can appreciate why the public might have some apprehension about such a visible fire in that part of the Okanagan which is why we're doing our best to educate the public about what we are doing," she says. "Fire has a natural role in the landscape in that part of B.C. and it's typical for it to move through an area every seven to 15 years. The last time fire moved through there was 2003, which is within that time space."

A modified response is B.C. Wildfire's second level of reaction to a fire, Hunse says, and is done in consultation with local land managers and B.C. Parks officials.

“A full response is what most people are used to where the end goal is to fully suppress the fire,” Hunse says.

Hunse says the fire is suspected to be human-caused but could not confirm whether an investigation would follow.

— This story was update at 4:04 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2, 2017 to include new information from B.C. Wildfire.


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