Firefighting helicopter returns to the Eagle Bluff wildfire Monday morning. (Mark Brett - Western News)

South Okanagan wildfire stagnant but runs deep

BC Wildfire crews still working on Eagle Bluff blaze

While the communities surrounding the Eagle Bluff wildfire might not see as much smoke or flame, it still will be some time before it is classified as completely out.

“For many people in the community it certainly looks like the fire is out because they are not seeing the big flames and smoke. However, because the ground is so dry and fire is running deep in the root systems, it will take time to be fully out. So just because you haven’t seen smoke, it is certainly still going and we will continue with our planned ignitions and other suppression tactics,” said Kayla Fraser, fire information officer

READ MORE: Former Penticton firefighter, web developer create B.C. wildfire app

B.C. Wildfire Service said the fire is still at 2,632 hectares as it remains stagnant in growth and, with the lower fire activity, theyplan on removing night crews who are mopping up areas and conducted planned ignitions. The fire is currently classified asbeing held, meaning it is not expected to grow beyond its current perimeter.

Planned ignitions were scheduled for Wednesday but due to rain that has saturated the ground, Fraser said it was too wet forthe fire to act they way they want it to.

“We are really having a planning day (Thursday) and will attempt those ignitions when things line up to do so. The goal is tobring the fire toward the guard the crews created and contain the fire perimeters. Doing so is also really beneficial for theecosystem,” said Fraser.

READ MORE: Province restricts areas near Eagle Bluff blaze

She added seven helicopters continue to support the ground crew of about 146 firefighters.

Fire suppression activities have not taken place on the inoperable terrain on the northeast flank as it shows low propensity for fire growth and no threat to interface values. According to BC Wildfire, they have been in consultation with land managers and other stakeholders and it has been decided to allow the fire to take its natural course while being monitored with a modified response.

Fraser said this relies on a combination of tactics to manager fire activity within a predetermined perimeter in order to maximize the fire’s ecological benefits.

While the evacuation alerts have been lifted, an area restriction order for Crown land near the Eagle Bluff wildfire went into effect on Tuesday in an effort to protect the public and for the safety of firefighters. It will stay in effect until Aug. 30, or until it is rescinded.

Under the order, people are not allowed to enter the restricted area without authorization unless they are a local resident travelling to or from their home , or they are managing livestock on private or leased property.

Folks travelling for the purposes of accessing a secondary residence or recreational property that is not under an evacuation order are also permitted in the zone.

To report a typo, email: editor@keremeosreview.com.


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