Monday, August 24th 2020, 9:04 pm - The hundreds of evacuees will be able to return to their homes soon as Okanagan wildfire is subsiding.
The wildfire in British Columbia's south Okanagan region is subsiding. The evacuation alert has been lifted for all the 3,669 properties in the area.
Known as the Christie Mountain fire, the blaze was discovered almost a week ago and grew rapidly, in steep and difficult-to-access terrain. However, more favourable weather conditions have helped firefighters check its spread. As of Monday evening, it's estimated at 3,071 hectares in size.
The B.C. Wildfire Service says around 170 firefighters, supported by more than a dozen aircraft, are working to contain the fire, including 32 firefighters who worked overnight on the site.
"Crews continue to reinforce control lines at Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park and are looking for potential areas for small burn out opportunities," the service said Sunday night. "They continue to make great progress on the southwest flank of the fire building and strengthening control lines for values protection."
The Doctor Creek wildfire (N21257), near #CanalFlats, remains at approximately 3,071 hectares. More than 80 personnel, 5 pieces of heavy equipment and 7 helicopters are working on the fire today. Suppression efforts are currently concentrated on the east flank of the fire. pic.twitter.com/ZWOCIZtwp9— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) August 24, 2020
The fire burned at least one home, and triggered evacuation orders for around 300 others. Another 3,700 properties have been under an evacuation alert for several days, meaning residents must be prepared to evacuate if asked.
However, on Monday morning, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen said on its website that it was finalizing a re-entry plan for evacuated residents.
"Geotechnical work is underway and crews are working to ensure the safety of homes, driveways and retaining walls as well as critical infrastructure including gas, power and water lines," the district says. "Trees and other potential dangers must also be assessed. The objective is to return people as soon as possible."
The cause of the Christie Mountain fire remains under investigation.
Smoke from the wildfires seen from space. Image: NASA.
Two other "wildfires of note" are being seen to by the B.C. Wildfire service.
The Talbot Creek wildfire, burning in the Slocan Valley, remained around 200 hectares in size as of Monday morning and is highly visible from the valley, as well as surrounding communities, the B.C. Wildfire Service says. The Regional District of the Central Kootenay has issued evacuation alerts for around 300 properties nearby.
Another blaze, the Doctor Creek fire, near Canal Flats, has burned close to 3,100 hectares, though the service says growth has been limited, and trending away from populated areas. Structure protection systems are in use near the fire as a precautionary measure.
Thumbnail courtesy of B.C. Wildfire Service.