Firefighters have some ‘good luck’ with wildfire burning near Peachland | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Firefighters have some ‘good luck’ with wildfire burning near Peachland

An aerial view of the northwest side of the Brenda Creek wildfire south of the Okanagan Connector and northwest of Peachland, July 20, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/BC Wildfire Service
July 23, 2021 - 1:36 PM

Firefighters had some "good luck" last night and were able to mop up hotspots burning close to West Kelowna’s only source of power.

The Brenda Creek wildfire, burning northwest of Peachland and south of the Okanagan Connector, is still mapped at 662 hectares today, July 23.

B.C. Wildfire Service fire information officer Mike McCulley said crews will continue to protect the transmission line until the risk in minimal enough to move on, likely this winter. The line is the only source of power for Peachland, West Kelowna and other surrounding communities.

READ MORE: ‘Life and death situation': Mayor concerned as wildfire threatens only hydro transmission line into West Kelowna

“Most of these fires will need rain and snow in both the fall and winter. Once you get them this large, and becomes part of the trees, to call it out, is something we won't be sure of until winter. For the power lines, we'll be making sure we have the right resources there to protect that infrastructure for as long as we need to,” McCulley said.

Yesterday, a large sprinkler system was set up to protect the line currently inside the fire’s perimeter.

"We had some good luck at Brenda Creek last night. There was a big wind event for the entire province and all of our fires got a bit of that last night. But we were able to get under the transmission lines and mop up some of those hotspots, not a lot of big growth, not a lot of fire behaviour,” McCulley said.

A fuel truck was also brought to the scene, which is saving an hour of fly time for helicopters that were flying away to refuel, he said.

"Yesterday, crews continued to reinforce sections of guard line on the north west corner of the fire by burning off the fuel between the guard and the fire with small, hand ignitions. South west winds were consistent on the fire all day yesterday, causing an increase in activity and some growth to the southeast," McCulley said.

Helicopters were used to bucket water onto hotspots yesterday, and will continue this effort today.

There are 43 firefighters, four helicopters and 16 pieces of heavy equipment are assigned to the fire today. They are supported by 34 additional staff, including a wildfire service incident management team.

An evacuation order is in place for 43 properties in Electoral Area H of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. An evacuation alert is also in place for Eneas Lakes, Pennask Lake, Trepanier, and Pennask Creek provincial parks.

An evacuation alert is in effect for Regional District of Central Okanagan properties including three recreational camping areas and Crown land within the West Electoral Area, south of Highway 97C and northwest of Peachland. For more information, visit the regional district’s website.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has also issued an evacuation alert for three properties located in Electoral Area M. For more information, visit the regional district’s website.

— With files from Levi Landry

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