iN VIDEO: Mexican firefighters welcomed to South Okanagan with Syilx drum ceremony | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN VIDEO: Mexican firefighters welcomed to South Okanagan with Syilx drum ceremony

Kx Hall, with the Osoyoos Indian Band, hosts a drum ceremony for Mexican firefighters who arrived at Spirit Ridge Resort, July 25, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Mike Campbol
July 27, 2021 - 7:00 PM

Mexican firefighters arriving in the South Okanagan this past weekend and were welcomed with a Sylix prayer and song.

Kx Hall, with the Osoyoos Indian Band, hosted the drumming ceremony, which was captured on video by chief operating officer with the band, Mike Campbol, July 25 at Spirit Ridge Resort.

B.C. Wildfire Service firefighters and roughly 101 Mexican crew members are using the resort as their main camp as they battle the Nk'Mip Creek wildfire burning to the south of Osoyoos, said wildfire information officer Dani McIntosh.

There are currently 46 structural personnel, 134 wildfire personnel, 24 heavy equipment operators and five aircraft on site.

Crews will remain at the resort until Thursday, where a fire camp will be set up, McIntosh said.

"It was always planned to be temporary. Honestly we would have had the camp set up earlier but just the B.C. Wildfire Service is so strapped on resources right now this is the soonest we could get one. It's pretty standard for fire personnel to be staying in a camp," she said.

The wildfire is still classified as out of control and winds are expected to pick up around 4 p.m., she said.

"We're likely going to see that column building that we've seen over the last few days later in the afternoon where the heat will be picking the smoke up."

The winds will increase from the north, and then shift later this afternoon to blow from the east, she said.

Today, crews are assessing dangerous trees near Shrike Hill and continue to patrol and perform mop up tasks around Shrike Hill and the northern Nk'Mip Road, burning off any unburnt fuel, reinforcing existing guards and extinguishing hotspots.

Crews are also working on structure protection near the Anarchist Mountain community and are also performing patrols and mop up tasks around Spirit Ridge and on the fire’s southern perimeter and along the southern part of  Nk'Mip Road.

Conditions remain hot and dry and the fire has grown but the wildfire service has been unable to get an update on the fire’s size due to smoky conditions and fire behaviour, so it's still mapped at 6,800 hectares, according to the service.

Numerous properties remain under evacuation alerts and orders due to the wildfire. Visit the Osoyoos Indian BandRegional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and Regional District of Kootenay Boundary websites for more information on alerts and orders.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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