Most of Peachland was put on evacuation alert Monday evening, as the wildfire burning in the hills above the town continued to grow under dry and windy conditions.
The Glen Lake wildfire, sparked Saturday, is burning eight kilometres west of Peachland and was mapped at 763 hectares just after 5 p.m. Monday, a significant jump from the 75 hectares it was pegged at just a day earlier.
The alert from Central Okanagan Emergency Operations indicated that windy conditions were continuing to “challenge fire suppression activities.” As such, two tankers had deposited retardant lines to protect infrastructure.
The evacuation alert covers all areas within the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, south of the Brenda Mine site and southwest of Highway 97 C, and west of Highway 97.
Excluded, was Peachland’s downtown strip, Beach Avenue, and the neighbourhoods that surround it.
Summerland neighbourhoods have also been put on evacuation alert, including Faulder, Meadow Valley and Garnet Valley roads and the west side of Highway 97 north of Summerland.
The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen and the District of Summerland also added evacuation alerts for a combined 204 properties in Faulder, Meadow Valley the west side of Highway 97 and in Summerland itself around 6 p.m.
The fire was expected to be a challenge throughout the day with weather conditions, albeit cooler, still not ideal.
“As of yesterday, it was moving at a rank three to rank five and we can expect similar activity today,” said Evan Lizotte, fire information with BC Wildfire.
Cooler temperature and higher relative humidity were expected to help.
Wind, however, is challenging.
“From this morning to this afternoon the wind was blowing toward the southeast and will blow northeast this afternoon,” Lizotte said Monday afternoon, amending an earlier statement.
Peachland fire Chief Dennis Craig said he’d meeting with fire officials provincially and locally to assess risks to homes in the community.
“The biggest thing is we have a fire on our landscape is a fire that’s just over (eight) kilometres, as the crow flies, from our community,” Craig said.
“As we saw four weeks ago, we had fire spotting five and a half kilometres away, over a body of water. So you know preparedness is key and that’s a big portion of our plan today.
“Hopefully, it doesn’t come to it but my plan today is to sit down with some of the experts from the City of Kelowna and work out what our structure defence plan should look like should we need to do it.”
Part of that will be looping in other resources so they can be available should it come to it.
BC Wildfire Service and Peachland Fire and Rescue are co-ordinating response efforts on the fire with support from the Central Okanagan Regional District and surrounding communities.
The fire had helicopters bucketing throughout the day Sunday and bucketing operations continued Monday, BC Wildfire said.
Check the interactive map available at www.cordemergency.ca/map for more
— Correction: Earlier in the day the BC Wildfire Service said the wind was blowing away from the town. That was changed this afternoon, with wildfire officials explaining it’s actually blowing toward the town.
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