Planned ignition targets last challenging section of White Rock Lake wildfire

VERNON, B.C. — A planned ignition covering around 30 square kilometres is underwayat the northeast corner of the destructive White Rock Lake wildfire west of Vernon, B.C., while hundreds of properties have been put on evacuation alert due to a different fire burning near Penticton, BC.

A fire information officer with the provincial wildfire service says the area for the controlled burn was chosen because it's the last section of the fire's perimeter that doesn't have good containment due to steep and rocky terrain that's made fighting it difficult.

Forrest Tower says once the ignition is complete, crews will spend a few days making sure control lines are secure around the 813-square-kilometre fire that's been burning west of Okanagan Lake since mid-July.

The wildfire service says a buffer that's free of natural fuels was constructed around the area as part of the planned burn.

Elsewhere, fire information officer Roslyn Johnson says aerial efforts to fight the two-square-kilometre Skaha Creek fire detected Saturday south of Penticton were not affecting service at the local airport after the city warned they might.

However, the Penticton Indian Band issued an evacuation alert for 240 properties Monday and the City of Penticton activated its emergency operations centre to prepare to support the response.

Emergency Management BC says there were 232 active wildfires in the province, including 18 that were either highly visible or posed a potential threat to public safety.

The number of properties under evacuation orders ticked down to about 3,900, while residents of another 6,255 were told to be ready to leave on short notice.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 30, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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