Tuesday night’s storm sparked several fires in Vernon. (Paul Cousins/Special to the Morning Star)

UPDATE: BX, Irish Creek fires out

Vernon fire snuffed out, along with earlier reported fire near Sugar Lake

UPDATE: Friday, 9 p.m.

The fire burning near Sugar Lake has been extinguished.

BC Wildfire Service has also noted that the BX blaze (Upper Brookside Creek) is now under control.

The Dee Lake Road fire has also been removed and is believed to be under control.

East of that Coldstream fire there is a two hectare blaze in Greystokes Provincial Park (at Fish Hawk Lake), which was discovered Thursday.

The Trinity Valley fire is still reported as active, at one hectare, near Enderby.

The Rioulx Creek blaze near the Whatshan area is listed as 2.1 hectares.

UPDATE:

Despite BC Wildfire Service reports, the local fire chief says the BX blaze is out.

“There’s absolutely no smoke whatsoever. It was out last night and there’s just a big red colour on the trees,” said BX-Swan Lake Fire Chief Bill Wacey of the Upper Brookside Creek blaze.

“The fire never breached the top of the hill. I’m staring at it as we’re speaking and there’s absolutely nothing.”


Meanwhile, the BC Wildfire Service is still reporting the fire as active. There is also report of a .01 hectare fire at Ireland Creek (near Sugar Lake in Cherryville), discovered Friday.

With BX crews able to stand down locally, five members are helping their neighbours in Peachland.

“They were called out in the middle of the night (Wednesday) and they’ve been there ever since,” said Wacey.

See: Okanagan Wildfire: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

The BX Sprinkler Protection Unit trailer is also in Peachland, as well as several vehicles.

“This is going to be a while, this isn’t going out in the next couple of days,” said Wacey, as his crew will be there a minimum of one week.

“There’s 14 of them (fires) up there and four of them are going to be converging into one complex fire.”

Wacey reminds that conditions aren’t even as dry as they were last year at this time and that this could just be the start of a long fire season.

“I keep reminding everybody, ‘you’ve got to remember the Okanagan Mountain Fire (2003) started Aug. 17.’

“And they’re still expecting above-normal temperatures and below normal precipitation.”

See: Cooler temps today, but no rain in forecast until August

With that in mind, residents are reminded to be cautious and prepared with a grab and go kit in the event you need to evacuate.

“In Peachland, the guy opened the door to an RCMP officer and he was still in his pyjamas and he had to leave right then and there in his pyjamas.”

Keeping important documents in a fireproof safe or box is also a good idea, Wacey said.

And of course, those enjoying the outdoors are asked to be extra careful.

“People have to ultra-cautious, be vigilant, keep your eyes open and realize silly things happen,” said Wacey, reminding those on motorbikes or crossbikes that even one spark can cause a fire.

UPDATE: Friday, 9:30 a.m.

Crews are on route this morning to the Upper Brookside Creek blaze in the BX. The fire is one hectare in size with 12 crew members actioning it today (subject to change).

Over in the Enderby area, the Trinity Valley fire has held its status at one hectare with minimal growth overnight. BC Wildfire Service is not anticipating growth outside of the perimeter considering the cool current weather and resources. There are 12 people there today and five pieces of heavy equipment.

Over in the Whatshan area, the fire at Fife Creek is out but the Rioulx Creek blaze has grown to 2.1 hectares.

The Dee Lake Road fire near Coldstream remains active at seven hectares. The nearby Grizzly Hill fire is out. But there is a new fire in Graystokes Provincial Park that is .01 hectares.

Meanwhile, fires in the South Okanagan have taken a turn for the worse.

See: Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

The 1000-hectare Mount Eneas wildfire and the about six-hectare Munro Lake wildfire are both burning south of Peachland. A local state of emergency has been issued in Peachland and more than 1,500 residents are on evacuation order or alert.

Highway 97 has been “cautiously” opened, but there is “dynamic fire behaviour.”

Across the lake, the Okanagan Mountain Park fire is holding at about 400 hectares in size.

The red glow south of Kelowna is bringing up resident’s worst fears as the fire burns in the same location as the destructive 2003 wildfire.

An evacuation alert has been issued for homes on Lakeshore Road, as BC Wildfire Service crews focus on suppressing wildfire activities in the area.

A wildfire above Glenrosa, an area still reeling from a destructive 2009 wildfire, picked up steam last night prompting a new evacuation alert for the area.

The evacuation alert was issued Thursday evening for 198 properties in the upper Glenrosa area of West Kelowna, due to the eight-hectare Law Creek wildfire.

Further south, the Mount Conkle wildfire near Summerland is sitting at 90 hectares.

The Penticton Indian Band issued a State of Local Emergency on Wednesday due to this fire threatening nearby homes.

Homes on Garnet Valley Road from Wildhorse Road north are under an evacuation order, while homes on Garnet Valley Road from Jones Flat Road to Wildhorse Road are on an evacuation alert.

Further south in the Lower Similkameen, the Placer Mountain fire has tripled in size over the last 24 hours. It sits at about 150 hectares.

…………………………………

UPDATE: 8:43 p.m.

The Upper Brookside Creek wildfire is holding at 1.2 hectares.

BC Wildfire Service is on scene with 11 firefighters.

The blaze is not an interface fire and the cause is still under investigation.

—————-

A wildfire blazing in the BX was growing as of Thursday morning.

BC Wildfire Service estimates that the blaze, also known as the Upper Brookside Creek fire, is now 1.2 hectares in size and considers it a “fire of note,” meaning it is either highly visible or poses a potential threat to public safety. The fire is approximately six kilometres east of Swan Lake, near Vernon

Related: No air attack yet at BX wildfire

The fire grew Wednesday night, but a crew of 11 firefighters were on scene Thursday actioning the blaze, following air support Wednesday.

“Apparently it is on the priority list, top of the priority list,” said BX Swan Lake Fire Chief Bill Wacey, as the fire is in BC Wildfire Service territory. “It’s really steep terrain, we couldn’t even get in there.”

Related: Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

Meanwhile, the Trinity Valley fire, which sits in the hills roughly halfway between Armstrong and Mabel Lake, grew to one hectare as well.

BC Wildfire Service suspects that this fire, reported Tuesday, was sparked by lightning.

Related: More lightning forecast as storm sparks 38 new wildfires in B.C.

The Dee Lake Road fire, southwest of Coldstream, also remains active at seven hectares. A smaller (.3 hectare) nearby blaze was sparked by lightning Tuesday in the Duteau area at Grizzly Hill. There are also two fires in the Whatshan area, a two-hectare blaze at Rioulx Creek and a .01 hectare fire at Fife Creek. Thre are three spot-sized fires in the Kingfisher area in Hunters Range.

A fire in Peachland, the Mount Eneas wildfire, was burning at 500 hectares and caused evacuation orders for properties in the surrounding area. Highway 97 was closed intermittently as motorists attempted to evacuate. The highway was opened to one-lane of traffic in both directions, while alternate routes are available via Highway 97C, Highway 5A and Highway 3 as of Thursday.

Related: Mount Eneas wildfire continues to burn at 200 hectares

Evacuation alerts were in effect as the Okanagan Mountain Park fire also sits at 340 hectares in size.

“They got hit really hard,” said Wacey, of the 38 new wildfires sparked by Tuesday’s night lightning storm.


@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

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