Gusty winds raise concerns for firefighters working West Kelowna wildfire | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Gusty winds raise concerns for firefighters working West Kelowna wildfire

McDougall Creek Wildfire near West Kelowna on Sunday, Aug. 27.
Image Credit: Submitted/BC Wildfire

Fire trucks are pouring into West Kelowna this afternoon as winds are picking up and expected to gust to 40 km/h or more later this afternoon, Aug. 29.

That has sparked expanded evacuation alerts to the south western areas of the city as the out-of-control McDougall Creek Wildfire threatens to move in that direction.

"We have some increased fire behaviour that’s being observed on the southwest corner of the McDougall Creek fire," BC Wildfire information officer Sarah Hall told "This is winds from the north to the northwest with gusting potential upwards to approximately 40 km/h are posing a risk for the McDougall Creek fire to spot in a southern direction and to the Powers Creek drainage."

No spot fires had been reported by 4:30 p.m. but heavy lift helicopters and increased numbers of firefighters have moved into the area.

"It’s a precautionary measure and we want to be proactive by letting these communities know as well as redirecting our personnel into those areas as well," Hall said.

READ MORE: Winds drive renewed evacuation alerts in West Kelowna

The forecast was for a 40% chance of showers, which have started but Environment Canada says those will be widely scattered throughout the region. There is also a risk of thunderstorms this evening and overnight. Thunderstorms can generate much stronger winds and heavy rainfall in isolated pockets..

The chance of showers rises to 70% earlier tomorrow.

The Westbank and Glenrosa neighbourhoods northwest of Highway 97 and Highway 97C have been placed on evacuation alert.

A total of 33 firetrucks from fire departments between Peachland and Armstrong are now in West Kelowna to assist if the fire does burn back towards the people's homes.

 — This article was updated at 4:36 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, to add comments from BC Wildfire Service.

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