Heavy smoke will be visible from Vernon to West Kelowna as firefighters battling the 81,300-hectare White Rock Lake wildfire continue planned ignitions starting Wednesday (Aug. 25) around noon, if conditions allow.
BC Wildfire Services will focus their efforts northwest of Fintry Park and aim to burn around 200 hectares of fuel between the fire’s edge and a control line built south of it.
Another 450-hectare burn is planned along a control line re-established from the 2009 Terrace Mountain wildfire.
“This ignition operation is the final piece to securing safety for residents in the area,” BCWS said. “Once complete, the BC Wildfire Service will reassess the safety of the area and recommend changes to evacuation orders and alerts accordingly.”
The Okanagan Indian Band expanded an evacuation order Tuesday around 5 p.m. as a precautionary measure ahead of Wednesday’s planned burn.
Large plumes of smoke were visible in the North Okanagan Tuesday, Aug. 24, as ground and aerial crews completed a small-scale 350-hectare ignition along the northeastern flank toward Irish Creek Road.
“This ignition burned at a relatively low intensity along the understory with very little tree mortality,” BCWS said in an update.
BCWS said planned ignitions are critical to achieving containment in areas around tricky or unsafe terrain by removing unburned fuels.
Visible fire behaviour on the northeast flank Wednesday along the northern ridge of Six Mile Creek is unrelated to the previous day’s planned burn, crews said. However, the activity doesn’t threaten any structures.
Nearly 300 wildland firefighters, 102 more protecting structures, 12 helicopters, nine danger tree fallers and 60 pieces of heavy equipment are assigned to the fire.