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UPDATE: Wildfire near Peachland remains at 1,500 hectares

Finlay Creek fire in the distance.
September 04, 2017 - 7:12 PM

PEACHLAND - Afternoon winds and warmer temperatures challenged wildfire crews near Peachland this afternoon.

The Finlay Creek wildfire between Summerland and Peachland is estimated to remain at 1,500 hectares this evening, Sept. 4., according to B.C. Wildfire Services Information Officer Heather Rice. "This morning we were still doing estimates, however, it hasn't changed too much since the night before last."

"The growth from 1,000 hectares to 1,500 hectares was not necessarily growth that happened overnight. Better mapping has given us a better estimate of the fire size," said Rice.

There will be approximately seven firefighters and 12 pieces of equipment that will continue to work at extinguishing the blaze and building guard lines throughout the night. During the day, groud crews were supported by helicopters and skimmers that were dropping water. They were drawing from Okanagan Lake, which was expected to be busy with boaters and they should stay clear of the area, according to Rice.

"Mount Acland has had an increase in fire activity due to the wind," according to Rice. "Winds are blowing from the north which is challenging our southern flank near Garnet Lake. There's fire protection around some lake structures."

B.C. Wildfire Service would like the public to know that fire crews are reporting difficult and dangerous terrain. It is not safe and they request that people stay clear of the area. 

"We would like to ask people to stay out of the backcountry," says Rice. "It's an extreme fire hazard so we would like people to find another way to enjoy their last summer long weekend."

There have been Evacuation Alerts and Orders issued for the District of Peachland and District of Summerland borders.

All Evacuation Orders and Alerts remain in place, according to Emergency Operations Centre Information Officer Cameron Baughen. A map of the areas can be found on the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen website.

The Finlay Creek wildfire is North West of the District of Summerland. Because of the fire, the rural area called locally ‘Meadow Valley’ had 55 properties evacuated last night. This included Darke Lake Provincial Park, upper Fish Lake Rd, Meadow Valley Rd, Marsh Lane, Osborne Rd, Savanna Rd and Relkey Rd, according to the Emergency Operations Centre release.

Homeowners and ranchers affected by the Finlay Creek wildfire can contact the Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team locally at 250-215-3259 for assistance with their animals including pets, horses and livestock, according to an Emergency Operations Centre release issued this afternoon.

Residents with pets will be directed to where they can bring pets for safe keeping, says Baughen. If pets have been left at an evacuated home, the Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team can assist in safe retrieval.

The B.C. Livestock Producers Co-op Stockyard at 5353 at Hawthorne Pl in Okanagan Falls is taking evacuated horses and livestock. 

This evening, the evacuation alert for properties within the District of Summerland may be expanded. If they do extend the advisory, affected residents will be notified.

The lower portion of Fish Lake Rd in the Faulder area is presently under Evacuation Alert.  All residents in the Faulder area are asked to conserve water because over watering properties last night nearly emptied the reservoir for the local water system.

To stop residents from potentially crippling the water system, the District of Summerland staff went door to door. They also told residents that they are only under an Alert and did not need to evacuate.

The Province of B.C. has dispatched trained crews to protect homes and help home owners in the event their homes are in direct danger, according to Baughen.

For residents under evacuation erder in the Meadow Valley area, the Emergency Reception Centre located at the Summerland Arena and Curling Club at 8820 Jubilee Rd and East. It will be open again tomorrow form eight a.m. to five p.m. Today there were 98 evacuees registered as of 4 p.m., according to Baughen.

Evacuation alerts and orders are subject to change at a moments notice. For the latest information, see the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed and the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen Emergency Operations centre.

A detailed map is available showing affected properties online at the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations website.

More information on the current wildfire situation is available on the B.C. Wildfire website, Twitter feed or Facebook page. Information on roads and highways can be found on Drive B.C.’s website, Twitter Map, and their Twitter Feed.

Smoke from the Peachland wildfire today, Sep. 3.
Smoke from the Peachland wildfire today, Sep. 3.

— This story will be updated often. Last update time: 7:12 p.m.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Taylor Rae or call 250-819-6089 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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News from © iNFOnews, 2017

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