Planned burns along the southeast flank of the White Rock wildfire on Wednesday (July 28) brought the fire perimeter closer to the Salmon River Forest Service Road (FSR), which will enable crews to get to work in the area once it’s safe.
In a Thursday morning update, BC Wildfire Service said that due to the terrain and fire behaviour in the area, planned burns “are the most effective tactic” in containing the flames along this flank.
“If conditions remain favourable over the coming days, additional planned ignitions will occur along this flank to fully bring it down to the Salmon River FSR,” said BC Wildfire.
The planned burns are being carried out by plastic sphere dispensers (PSD), which deploy golf-ball-sized plastic spheres that ignite shortly after they reach the forest landscape through a chemical reaction.
“This technique allows personnel to ignite manageable amounts of fuel in a timely and accurate manner,” said BC Wildfire. “Air support will continue to be utilized for the duration of planned ignition operations, as required.”
The fire near Westwold remains classified as out of control and is still measured at an estimated size of 20,000 hectares. Conditions on the site are extremely smoky. Heavy smoke is impacting hydro lines, resulting in power outages that may persist.
Elevated fire behaviour is expected to continue, and crews are anticipating fire growth on the east and northeast flanks. Subtropical moisture on Friday may bring thunderstorms, strong winds and dry lighting to the region.
An evacuation order is in place for 85 properties in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD), while 576 are on evacuation alert.
In the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), 10 properties are under an evacuation order. Twenty properties, including seasonal dwellings, are also under an evacuation order in the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO).
The Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) issued an evacuation alert for the southernmost boundary of OKIB IR#1 reserve up to Newport Beach including, Old Mill site, Komasket Park Area, 6 Mile, Parkers Cove and Whiteman’s Creek.