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Wildfire in Okanagan Mountain Park behaving as expected

Smoke issues from a small wildfire across Okanagan Lake.
October 03, 2017 - 4:45 PM

CENTRAL OKANAGAN - The fire burning in Okanagan Mountain Park has tripled in size but while some locals would like to see a much stronger reaction to the fire, B.C. Wildfire is content to leave it alone and after monitoring it overnight, confident it is the right response.

“One of the goals of this fire is to help prevent a large amount of fuel build-up that area,” fire information officer Justine Hunse says.

“If the natural cycle of fire isn’t allowed to occur, we can see things like fuel build-up which can lend itself to more intense fires,” she added, with reference to the Okanagan Mountain Park of 2003.

Hunse says the low-ranked fire burning near the shoreline two kilometres north of Rattlesnake Island has slowly spread overnight to about six hectares, triple what it was yesterday afternoon, but behaving just as predicted.

“The slow rate of spread demonstrates why it makes sense to allow the fire to burn at this time of the year,” she adds. “We do expect some more growth before it self-extinguishes.”

But Hunse says B.C. Wildfire is being doubly cautious, given the sensitivity of locals to wildfire and will provide daily updates until further notice.

Hunse says B.C. Wildfire has three response levels to wildfires— full, modified and monitored — which are selected based on a variety of conditions including proximity to people and buildings, and the time of the year.

The modified response — monitoring the fire and responding only if it reaches previously established trigger points — is the one B.C. Wildfire is using here, Hunse says.


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