NEWS/ WILDFIRES — Firefighters are bracing for strong winds tonight, keeping their guards up and their fingers crossed that the Smith Creek fire near West Kelowna will stay within retardant lines.
The Wildfire Management Branch reported tonight (Saturday) that while there was increased activity in the fire today as a result of unburned fuels within its interior, it didn’t get across guards or retardant lines.
However, there was potential for downhill creep tonight as strong winds fan the fire, said the branch.
“Breaking trees may be noticed within the vicinity of the fire as a result of these strong winds,” said a report from the wildfire branch.
“Firefighters may be removed from these areas of concern for safety reasons. Other methods of suppression will be tactically considered when safety concerns are present.”
About 2,500 West Kelowna residents remain evacuated.
An Ontario incident management team has assumed command at the fire. “This transition will bring increased support staff to help manage the wildfire,” which started two days ago.
“The team is looking forward to continuing progress and positive efforts on the fire.”
The fire has grown another 10 hectares in the past day and is about 30 per cent contained. The West Kelowna, Peachland, Lake Country and Kelowna fire departments are assisting provincial fire crews.