Wildfire southwest of Princeton grows to 13,000 ha, firefighters entering critical period | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Wildfire southwest of Princeton grows to 13,000 ha, firefighters entering critical period

The Garrison Lake wildfire.
Image Credit: BC Wildfire Service
August 15, 2021 - 2:31 PM

A wildfire burning to the southwest of Princeton that has been quiet for the last week saw increased fire activity yesterday and grew to roughly 13,000 hectares.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen issued an evacuation order yesterday, Aug. 14 for properties in Electoral Area H due to the immediate danger to life safety due to the Garrison Lake wildfire.

Due to winds and aggressive fire behaviour, the fire crossed Highway 3 yesterday afternoon and there’s a chance the highway could close today, said fire information officer Bryan Zandberg. The B.C. Wildfire Service is working with the Ministry of Transportation to assess the situation and traffic control staff are on site.

“The fire behaviour really picked up because of the winds and again, really humility and really high, high temperatures,” he said.

The fire crossed near Sunday Summit but crews were able to contain the spot where it crossed over, he said.

“They got a lot of water on it right away so it didn’t get very far over the highway,” he said, adding an initial attack crew from Merritt arrived on scene and remained overnight.

“What we’re really looking to do is keep the highway open and we can’t have the fire going over the highway, it’s a good fire guard and we don’t want to lose that,”  Zandberg said.

The service is currently estimating the fire has grown by 1,000 ha, making it 13,000 ha in size. The fire was growing towards the community of Eastgate yesterday, he said.

“Today’s a critical day for fire weather, if we can get through it we should have some cooler weather and somewhat better conditions,” he said.

There’s potential for increased fire behaviour today and winds are in the forecast to reach up to 60 km/hr, he said.

The fire is currently burning at a rank 1 and 2, meaning it's a smoldering ground fire with some tree candling.

It is currently classified as out of control. "Due to hot and dry weather and winds, fire activity persists in forested and replanted areas in the northern and northwestern sections of the fire," according to the service.

“This fire is being monitored with aerial resources and four incident management personnel. Industry partners are working with 20 pieces of heavy equipment to action the fire. 10 structural protection personnel are also on scene to assess and mobilize resources for at-risk values and properties. A second helicopter is assisting with active smokes inside the fireguard near the community of Eastgate,” according to the wildfire service.


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