Minimal growth on Skaha Creek wildfire near Penticton as crews plan prescribed burns | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Minimal growth on Skaha Creek wildfire near Penticton as crews plan prescribed burns

The Skaha Creek wildfire south of Penticton, as seen from Eastside Road on the evening of Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.
August 31, 2021 - 11:33 AM

Although strong winds could be felt overnight in the South Okanagan, the B.C. Wildfire Service crews working on the Skaha Creek wildfire reported light winds and no significant growth overnight.

The light winds were helpful in keeping the flames high up the hills, fire information officer Roslyn Johnson said today, Aug. 31, adding that the fire is not threatening any structures.

Beyond last night’s favourable weather, the wildfire has been contained to a relatively safe area thanks to the efforts of ground crews, as well as the pilots who have been setting retardant lines and attacking with water bombers over the past two days, she said.

But even though things went well last night, around 240 properties within the Penticton Indian Band remain under evacuation alert. They are located in Skaha Hills, Riva Ridge, Holiday Hills RV Resort and in the PIB Lower Village south of Shingle Creek. Find the list of addresses here

READ MORE: Crews work to get handle on wildfire burning near Penticton

More smoke may be visible from Penticton today, as crews will be executing planned ignitions if weather conditions allow.

“Today there will be some small ignitions on east side of fire, the side closer to Penticton, if conditions allow,” Johnson said. “That will be to hep bring fire down to the guard line, where crews can defend it more easily.”

Ground crews are able to access the critical areas by road, she said, but steep terrain is posing a challenge. Heavy machinery is being used where it can reach, while crews are digging hand guards in the trickier areas.

READ MORE: Wildfire near Penticton may impact airport flights

Attacking the 212 hectare fire today are 71 personnel (plus 13 more arriving by the afternoon), 15 pieces of heavy equipment, eight helicopters that will be working the fires throughout the Okanagan complex, as well as air tankers and skimmers if necessary.

The wildfire is just six kilometres away from Penticton, so to maximize preparedness, the City activated its Emergency Operations Centre earlier today.

“We’re taking steps to prepare and plan in the event there is a change in the behaviour of the Skaha Creek Wildfire and to be ready to support the Penticton Indian Band as needed,” director of the Emergency Operations Centre, Donny Van Dyk, said in a press release.

Retardant lines are used to set a perimeter on the Skaha Creek wildfire.
Retardant lines are used to set a perimeter on the Skaha Creek wildfire.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/B.C. Wildfire Service

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