Hopeful signs in West Kelowna as wildfire smaller than thought, contained with retardant

NEWS/ WILDFIRES — There are hopeful signs in the battle against the fire threatening homes in West Kelowna.

The Smith Creek wildfire is smaller than was estimated earlier today (Friday) and is being contained within a ring of retardant, the Wildfire Management Branch reported just before 9 p.m.

Smith Creek fire. (Screenshot CBC video tweet)

Smith Creek fire. (Screenshot CBC video tweet)

The wildfire branch said improved visibility of the fire this afternoon resulted in a reduction in the estimate of its size from 400 to 250 hectares. About 2,500 West Kelowna residents have been evacuated.

The branch said it conducted a full response to the wildfire following its detection Thursday afternoon. Sixty-five firefighters, 10 support personnel, five helicopters and airtankers were responding to the fire.

The ground crews have been working in collaboration with the West Kelowna, Peachland, and Kelowna Fire Departments.

“This Smith Creek wildfire displayed aggressive fire behaviour earlier today, however that fire activity stayed within the retardant perimeter,” the report said.

“Firefighters will patrol the perimeter overnight and more firefighters will join efforts tomorrow.”

The fire is suspected to be human-caused.

“This preventable fire is a serious reminder of the risk of wildfire in the Kamloops Fire Centre region.”

Meanwhile, firefighters at the Botanie Road fire near Lytton are concentrating on trying to keep it out of the Fraser Canyon corridor. More firefighters are en route (9:17 p.m.) to join the 29 already there.

Several fires ignited by lighting in the Fraser Canyon on Monday continue to burn, resulting in the closure of a forest service road.

About Mel Rothenburger (8330 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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