Update 11:30 AM July 19: Tom Mark
The Upper Brookside Creek fire off Hartnell Road in The BX is still smoking this morning.
But it appears the air tanker and bucket helicopter attack yesterday afternoon beat it down.
BX-Swan Lake Fire Chief Bill Wacey is keeping an eye on it.
“There’s still smoke there but it’s all in the rocks right now, but there’s no concern at this moment in time until they eventually get a crew into that one. It’s pretty treacherous.”
BC Wildfire hasn’t said if it will get a crew in today.
They have to rappel in as there is no road access.
Wacey says he’s confident the air assault yesterday did enough damage to keep the fire down.
‘They did a good job knocking it down from the air and it definitely will be a ground crew has to go in but right now it’s knocked down enough that they probably feel confident about it.”
The fire was last listed at 1.2 hectares.
Meanwhile, crews continue to work on the Mt. Eneas fire south of Peachland and the Good Creek fire.
Fire suppression will include activity from the ground and air.
Both fires are estimated at 200 hectares.
Thirty-eight properties are on evacuation order in the Central Okanagan Regional District and 43 in the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.
In the meantime, Highway 97 between Peachland and Summerland remains open to single-lane alternating traffic with a police escort.
Update: 5 pm
BX Swan Lake fire chief Bill Wacey says air tankers and helicopters were working on the Brookside Creek fire site off Hartnell Road this afternoon.
“I was surprised to see how many drops the two big birds (air tankers) dropped on it. It was at least 7 or 8 loads surrounding it and onto it. It might have been because it was pretty hard on a crew.”
Wacey says the fire is in steep terrain and could be treacherous for provincial ground crews to access.
Wacey says he’ll be talking with the fire zone duty officer later tonight to get an update, and even though it’s not their fire, he says he will keep an eye on it tonight to make sure it doesn’t creep down the hill where homes are about a half kilometre away.
“There’s some pretty stressed out people (homeowners),” adds Wacey.
Photo- Hartnell Road Fire – Richard Gibbons
Update 12 pm
The BC Wildfire Service is now attacking a wildfire in the BX from the air and the ground.
The fire started last night at the end of Hartnell Road from a lightning strike.
BX-Swan Lake Fire Chief Bill Wacey says a helicopter with a bucket started dropping water on the fire in the last hour.
“They’re working that right now, then they’ll be sending the rappel crew in. It’s on the priority list, but they had a whole raft of tanker requests throughout the valley.”
The rappel team is needed because of where the fire is.
“Lots of places it’s almost vertical, a lot of dead in there, and a lot of areas that are very difficult to reach. It’s actually quite treacherous.”
BX-Swan Lake firefighters have been monitoring the fire since it began to make sure it didn’t move down the slope towards homes.
Wacey says it has expanded up the hill away from structures and may be between a hectare and two hectares in size.
“Absolutely, everything’s below it, which is where I was at the highest place. the fire’s moving uphill. Nothing’s coming down. No wind.”
Nicole Bonnett from the BC Wildfire Service says a three person rappel team has been dropped at the site.
“The helicopter dropped the crew off. They’re the firefighters that rappel off the helicopter onto fires.”
Bonnett says at least 22 new fires were started in the Kamloops Fire Centre jurisdiction last night.
At least 13 were in the Okanagan.
Bonnet says efforts are underway to assign new crews.
“We had all available resources responding to all these fires today as well as last night. Then we’re bringing in some crews from outside of the Fire Centre.”
Update 8:15 am
BX-Swan Lake firefighters are keeping an eye on a fire in the BX that was started last night by lighting.
“It’s kind of up on the top, about three quarters up the slope at the end of Hartnell Road going toward the star somewhat, so a bit of a northeastern direction.”
BX – Swan Lake Fire Chief Bill Wacey says the fire isn’t near any structures and he’s not concerned it will move toward any.
After it started last night, flames could be seen from much of the area as the fire candled into some trees
The fire is about 150 metres by 400 metres and doesn’t appear to be growing.
“Not at this moment in time. I mean it’s just outside of our fire protection area to begin with so it’s as forestry show over all but it doesn’t look like it’s growing, especially this time of the morning anyway.”
A small crew of firefighters from the BC Wildfire service was sent in last night to get a quick jump on it.
It’s not clear if any more are coming in this morning to finish it off.
Widespread lightning throughout much of British Columbia led to a busy time for the BC Wildfire Service last evening.
Fire crews responded to at least 13 new fires in the Okanagan and Simnilkameen.
One of those in the Tillicum area of the BX region of Vernon.
BX Swan Lake firefighters joined wildfire service crews late last night.
Crews were expected to be there all night.
There’s no word on the status of the fire this morning.
Lightning is also believed to have caused a hedge fire near 25th Avenue and 14th street in Vernon
Photos on social media show neighbours working to put out the fire.
No one from Vernon Fire is available to comment at this hour.
In all there here were at least 38 new fire starts across the province, most of them in the Kamloops Fire Centre region, which includes the Okanagan
Most of these new wildfires are considered to have been caused from the lightning that passed through, and the number of new wildfires is expected to increase as more are discovered in the coming days.