Residents warned to stay away from West Kelowna wildfire area after ATVs spotted | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Residents warned to stay away from West Kelowna wildfire area after ATVs spotted

The Mt Law wildfire next to Highway 97C, Aug. 27, 2021.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Nicole Hemeon Photography

The B.C. Wildfire Service is reminding residents to stay away from a wildfire burning next to Highway 97C after people were seen walking and riding ATVs in the area.

The Mt Law wildfire is burning north of the Okanagan Connector and near West Kelowna. It’s currently 976 hecates in size, according to the service.

Wildfire information officer Roslyn Johnson said it’s been a safety issue with people walking and driving ATVs.

“Recreation is not allowed,” she said. The service wants to ensure crews and the public are safe which is why an area restriction is in effect at this time.

Skimmer aircrafts are also planning on conducting a practice water drop on the Mt Law wildfire in the early afternoon today, Aug. 28. The skimmers may be picking water off of Okanagan Lake and the service asks boaters to avoid the area during the operation, Johnson said.

“This is a planned operation for training purposes that will also aid in the containment of the wildfire. The fire has not challenged the guards and the operation is for training purposes only,” according to the service’s latest update from this morning, Aug. 28.

Crews are on the ground at this time and the fire is well-resourced so the skimmers are conducting this training exercise to keep their skills sharp, Johnson said. Skimmers are effective before crews are working on the ground and when it’s not safe for ground crews to be there, she said.

“Additional crews from Mexico arrived yesterday and will be on the fire line today, assisting with suppression efforts. Work continues on the extinguishment of the spot fire on the east side of Drought Creek and will also continue on the hot spots identified in the thermal imaging scan,” according to the service’s latest update.

Mop up, by crews, continues throughout the fire perimeter and direct attack by crews is focused on the east side of the fire. A spot that crossed the highway earlier this week has also been contained.

There are 119 personnel on site with four pieces of heavy equipment. Nine helicopters are being shared between South Okanagan wildfires and the Mt Law wildfire within the Okanagan complex, according to the wildfire service.

A travel advisory is in effect for the Okanagan Connector from West Kelowna to Peachland and one lane of traffic remains closed due to the wildfire.

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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