White Rock Lake wildfire within 8.5 km of Westside Road | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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White Rock Lake wildfire within 8.5 km of Westside Road

File photo.
August 04, 2021 - 3:39 PM

The White Rock Lake wildfire remains mapped at 32,500 hectares, but the B.C. Wildfire Service's latest survey shows the blaze is within 8.6 kilometres of Westside Road in the Central Okanagan.

Evacuation alerts and orders have not changed as of today Aug. 4, but residents should be prepared for that to change as the White Rock Lake wildfire progresses, according to a release from Central Okanagan Emergency Operations.

As the firefighters use heavy equipment and hand ignitions in an attempt to contain the blaze from the northwest perimeter to the northeast and southeast flanks, the wildfire service has also moved its operations to a camp north of Vernon.

Incident Commander Scott Rennick said in the Aug. 4 wildfire briefing that the camp will allow the wildfire service to better deploy resources to the White Rock Lake wildfire.

On the ground, crews are building fire guards and using hand ignitions to contain the blaze, including north of Monte Lake where they are keeping the wildfire from coming down a slope southwest of the lake.

Most of the wildfire activity is currently on the eastern flank, where helicopters are bucketing to slow its spread. Rennick also said skimmers may arrive to assist.

"The rain from three days ago had very little effect.... We are watching very closely that there is potentially cooler weather coming, but with increased wind and no rain associated with it," Rennick said.

There are 136 firefighters, 11 helicopters and 46 pieces of heavy equipment assigned to the wildfire. There are also 117 structural protection personnel assigned to the White Rock Lake wildfire with multiple pieces of equipment to assist their efforts.

They have assessed the Falkland corridor along Highway 97 and are prepared to defend Westwold, Falkland, Cedar Hills, Pinaus Lake and communities along Westside Road, according to fire information officer Hannah Swift.

"That being said, defending structures from a wildland fire is not always possible in every situation. Several factors, including risks to firefighters, fire behaviour and availability of resources will dictate our ability to successfully defend threatened structures," Swift said in the Aug. 4 wildfire update. "The public is urged to maintain heightened awareness of the evolving White Rock Lake wildfire situation and should be prepared in advance for potential evacuation alerts or orders."

Evacuation orders and alerts have been issued by the Okanagan Indian Band, the Thompson Nicola, North Okanagan, Central Okanagan and Columbia Shuswap regional districts.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 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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