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RDNO Wildfire Update – August 13, 2021

Posted Friday, August 13, 2021

The Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) has been working closely with the BC Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC regarding wildfires within and nearby the RDNO's boundaries. The RDNO has a team of staff ready 24/7 should we get a recommendation from BC Wildfire to place additional areas on Evacuation Alert or an Order or make changes to existing Alerts and Orders.

Update – August 13, 14:20 hrs

White Rock Lake Wildfire (#K61884)

The White Rock Lake wildfire continues to be a challenging event for crews and is now sized at an estimated 58,000 hectares. The cooler weather in the past week aided crews in their fight; however, the forecast is calling for winds later on Saturday and into Sunday, so increased wildfire activity is expected. To prepare for forecasted winds, the BC Wildfire Service is continuing to focus heavy equipment and crews on priority areas that they expect could experience increased wildfire activity.

Because of the expected change in weather, the RDNO will be watching this closely over the weekend and is prepared to act as necessary. The RDNO's current Alert and Order is still in effect and remains unchanged since it was last updated on August 10. Residents are encouraged to remain vigilant over the weekend and watch for possible changes to Orders and Alerts.

There are currently 195 wildland firefighters, 139 structural protection personnel, 15 helicopters, 15 danger tree assessors/ fallers, 73 pieces of heavy equipment along with the BC Wildfire Service Incident Management Team and additional support staff working on this fire.

This fire spans the boundaries of multiple regional districts, municipalities, and the Okanagan Indian Band. The affected local governments issue evacuation Alerts and Orders on the recommendation of BC Wildfire, so for information outside of the RDNO's Electoral Area boundaries, residents should check with their local authority.

The Fires of Note webpage for White Rock Lake wildfire is located at http://bcfireinfo.for.gov.bc.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/OneFire.asp?ID=855

Bunting Road Wildfire (#K41561)

The Bunting Road wildfire has merged with the Tsuius Creek (K41384) wildfire, and the total size is now mapped at 4733.7 ha. Wildfire crews have stated that they are preparing for a planned ignition today, August 13, if conditions permit, in the southwest, east of the established guard along Mabel Lake and west of the fire perimeter.

Control lines are being prepared with heavy equipment and crews, and helicopter bucketing will be used to create wet lines and reinforce the control line during and after the ignition. A small-scale planned ignition may also take place on the west side between established guards east of Mabel Lake, south of Torrent Creek and north of Mable Smyth Road. This operation will remove a pocket of unburned area. It will decrease the likelihood of the fire challenging the guards in this location if fire behaviour increases with the forecasted warm and dry weather this week.

On the west side, crews and heavy equipment have made significant progress securing this side of the fire, nearest to Mabel Lake. A machine guard was constructed to protect structures along the Mabel Lake Forest Service Road. A thermal imaging scan was completed on the west side on August 10, which will provide location information for hot spot targets that crews will continue to action. On the north side, crews have completed the machine guard and direct attack operation to secure the guard.

The Evacuation Alert and Order remains in place and is unchanged since it was issued on July 26.

There are 16 firefighters working on the Bunting Road wildfire, 14 pieces of heavy equipment, and the Shuswap Complex has eight helicopters available. The Mabel Lake Forest Service Road remains closed. Persons who drive into the active fire area create a safety hazard to themselves and the responders in this active worksite. Please respect the firefighting efforts and stay clear.

The Fires of Note webpage for Bunting Road Wildfire is located at http://bcfireinfo.for.gov.bc.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/OneFire.asp?ID=853

Winnifred Creek Wildfire (#K42042)

BC Wildfire Service has not reported any significant changes to this fire. This Evacuation ALERT remains in effect and unchanged since it was issued on July 20. Please note that Provincial campgrounds and rec sites are under the jurisdiction of the Government of British Columbia, so Alerts and Orders for those sites are issued by the Province. Those wishing to drive through or near this area are encouraged to visit DriveBC's website to check for closures before departing. 

Further information will be issued as updates are received from the BC Wildfire Service. RDNO residents are encouraged to continue to visit www.rdno.ca and the RDNO Facebook page for more information. A detailed map of all Evacuation Alerts and Orders in the area can be found at EmergencyMapBC.