Firefighters continue to battle a wildfire that has put thousands of people on evacuation alert and destroyed at least one home in the B.C. Interior, though the B.C. Wildfire Service reports the fire's size has been relatively stable and there has been some progress in the struggle to keep it from expanding.
The fire, known as the Christie Mountain fire, is burning six kilometres north of Okanagan Falls on the east side of Skaha Lake. The B.C. Wildfire Service says it's now 2,035 hectares, mostly unchanged from late last week.
The service says the fire has been burning in difficult terrain with limited access for ground crews and heavy equipment. Nevertheless, weather conditions were stable on site of the fire Saturday. Fire behaviour was minimal for most of Saturday, but started to increase on the southeast flank.
"Crews continue to reinforce control lines at Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park and are looking for potential areas for small burn out opportunities. They continue to make great progress on the southwest flank of the fire building and strengthening control lines for values protection," the agency said in its Sunday morning update.
On Sunday, 170 firefighters will work on site in conjunction with other personnel and multiple fire departments. They will be supported by 16 helicopters and four water tenders. Crews continue to work on access points and contingency lines on the north and east flanks, with eight pieces of machinery in the heavy equipment group.
An aerial track was completed of the Christie Mountain (K51287) wildfire, it is now approximately 2,035 ha in size. This video was taken looking west over #Penticton from within the fire perimeter. Minimal fire behavior has limited growth over the last few days. pic.twitter.com/DJueewbZ8Y— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) August 23, 2020
However, some 300 homes in the area remain under an evacuation order, and another 3,700 are under an evacuation alert, meaning residents do not yet have to leave, but should be prepared to if asked. At least one home has burned.
"We haven't lifted the order because we haven't felt 100 per cent comfortable yet, and when we do we will," B.C. Wildfire Service spokesman Dan Taudin-Chabot said at a news conference from Penticton on Saturday.
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, is around 200 hectares in size as of Sunday 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.
Ground crews are responding along with heavy equipment to establish control lines. Nine aviation resources are in the area and are being utilized as required, including helicopters performing water bucketing.
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.