iN VIDEO: Winds expected to challenge crews on White Rock Lake wildfire | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN VIDEO: Winds expected to challenge crews on White Rock Lake wildfire

The White Rock Creek wildfire near Monte Lake, Aug. 5, 2021.
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August 13, 2021 - 10:44 AM

Winds will likely increase White Rock Lake wildfire activity today and firefighters expect the fire to be challenging on its north, northeast and east flanks.

The wildfire is currently mapped at 58,000 hectares in size and burning to the northwest of Vernon.

“Increased smoke will be seen in the vicinity of Naswhito Creek on the southeast flank of the fire as we continue to experience increased fire activity in the area. Multiple helicopters will be on site bucketing water to cool hot spots and support crews today,” according to the B.C. Wildfire Service’s latest update this morning, Aug. 13.

Fire information officer Taylor MacDonald said she wasn’t aware if the fire has crept closer to homes, but it is still highly visible and crews expect winds to switch to the east and northeast so the fire will likely increase in those areas.

The Westside Road area will likely see an increase in fire activity and behaviour today, she said.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Vernon. A building ridge of high pressure will result in rising temperatures through the rest of the week with daytime temperatures reaching around 35 C with overnight minimum temperatures reaching 18 degrees.

“The time frame of the hottest weather is today and Saturday,” according to the wildfire service.

On Sunday, the ridge is expected to break down with strong gusting winds from the southeast. There will most likely be a significant increase in fire activity Saturday and Sunday with the weather.

Heavy equipment and crews are being moved to priority areas on the fire that are expected to be the most challenging along the north, northeast, and east flanks, according to the wildfire service.

Structure protection personnel are prepared to defend areas such as Westwold, Falkland, Cedar Hills, Pinaus Lake, Paxton Valley, and communities along Westside Road, including Okanagan Indian Band IR#1, according to the service.

Evacuation orders and alerts remain in effect for the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District, Regional District of North Okanagan, Thompson-Nicola Regional District, Splatsin, Okanagan Indian Band, Regional District of Central Okanagan and City of Vernon.

There are 195 wildland firefighters, 139 structure protection personnel, 15 helicopters, 15 danger tree assessors, 73 pieces of heavy equipment, an incident management team and additional support staff on site today.

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