Firefighters expect ‘increased wildfire activity’ due to hot, dry conditions near Okanagan Falls | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna News

Firefighters expect ‘increased wildfire activity’ due to hot, dry conditions near Okanagan Falls

The Thomas Creek wildfire, July 14, 2021.
Image Credit: BC Wildfire Service

A wildfire burning roughly three kilometres away from Okanagan Falls is expected to see increased wildfire activity in the coming days due to hot, dry and windy conditions.

The Thomas Creek fire is still listed at 7,910 hectares in size this morning, July 29 and is still classified as out of control but has seen some growth on the north perimeter of the fire, said B.C. Wildfire Service information officer Shannon Street.

“As of yesterday our control lines have held, so we don’t expect to see too much growth on that one,” she said.

“Crews are working on trying to find opportunities to do a potential planned ignition along that north flank to bring that fire down to control lines. So that’s going to be the objective over the next several days for crews.”

Conducting a planned ignition brings the fire to guards so crews can work with the fire “on our terms,” she said.

“Rather than have the fire move towards our guards in its own fashion, as it’s more likely to pick up speed and jump the guard, whereas if we can start the burn from the guard towards the burning, it’s a little more controlled in that sense,” Street said.

There has been quite a lot of smoke in the past few days, making it difficult for the wildfire service to get an update on the size of the fire.

The smoky skies are clearer this morning in the Penticton area, which means the service also expects to see increased wildfire behaviour with more heat. There’s also potential for dry lighting today and tomorrow, Street said.

There are 17 firefighters, 26 support staff, 33 military personnel, a B.C. Wildfire Service incident management team with five helicopters and 20 pieces of heavy equipment on site today.

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