UPDATE: Bear Creek wildfire 75 per cent contained; evacuation alert still in place

A helicopter drops its load of water on the Bear Creek wildfire, Monday, July 20, 2015.
Image Credit: Global Okanagan/Kelly Hayes (with permission)

WEST KELOWNA  – The 1.8-hectare wildfire burning in Bear Creek Provincial Park is now 75 per cent contained, but the last 25 per cent will be a challenge.

B.C. Wildfire Management says six air tankers, three helicopters and 26 firefighters worked yesterday to keep the aggressive fire from spreading.

“Crews remained on site overnight and were challenged by several spot fires that ignited outside the perimeter,” fire information officer Kelsey Winter says in a media release. “Today crews will work to further contain the fire and reinforce guard around the perimeter.”

There is a 20-person sustained action crew on the ground today, supported by a helicopter.

“Due to the steep terrain on both sides of the fire, containment of the last 25 per cent will be a challenge,” Winter says.

Winter says they are concerned about the erratic winds produced by a thunderstorm forecast to pass through the Bear Creek area this afternoon.

The storm cells which passed through the Kamloops Fire Centre overnight produced about 1,200 lightning strikes, so the Wildfire Management is encouraging people to call *5555 or 1 800-663-5555 if they spot any smoke or flames in the forest.

The evacuation alert remains in effect for 80 properties along Bear Creek and neighbouring roads as a result of the Bear Creek fire. Approximately 54 of those properties have dwellings or other structures.

Residents from the intersection of Parkinson Road north, including Bear Creek Road, Bear Creek Main, Rose Valley Road, Petterson Road and Dougmac Road are on evacuation alert and should be prepared to leave if conditions change and require an evacuation order.

They should be prepared to be away from their home for an extended period of time, make arrangements for pets and pack essential items such as medicines and important documents.

The roadblocks set up by the RCMP at Westside Road and Bear Creek Main are no longer in place and traffic is moving again.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Howard Alexander at halexander@infonews.ca. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

— This story was updated at 11:49 a.m., July 20, 2015, with additional information from B.C. Wildfire.

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