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Crews working towards containment of Twin Lakes wildfire

High winds are expected on Aug. 30 to challenge firefighters
There are 66 firefighters responding to the Upper Park Rill wildfire, including two danger tree fallers. (BC Wildfire Service)

BC Wildfire Service is preparing for higher winds to hit the Upper Park Rill Creek fire on Wednesday, Aug. 30.

Information officer Scott Southwell said that planned hand ignitions on Monday were successful along parts of the guard of the fire.

“With the higher winds expected tomorrow it was timely that we got that planned and completed yesterday,” said Southwell on Tuesday.

Crews are currently following up the hand ignition areas and mopping up and felling dangerous trees to lock in the guards.

The fire’s size has shrunk as crews nail down guards and get more accurate tracking on the perimeter, with the fire having dropped below 1,800 hectares to 1,796.8 as of Tuesday, Aug. 29.

Heavy equipment and ground crews have continued to work towards the south end of the fire on the east and west flanks, but the guards have not linked up yet.

Whether full containment of the fire is reached by the end of the week will depend on how much of an impact the winds on Wednesday have.

“It’s a possibility, it’s definitely what we’re working towards,” said Southwell. “It’s difficult to get a gauge on the weather because of the topography and the vast differences in elevation from the valley floor to the mountaintops.”

It’s hoped that some precipitation will come on Tuesday and provide some relief to the region.

All evacuation orders associated with the blaze, were rescinded within the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen on Aug. 24, with the last 96 properties in Electoral Area ‘C’ (Rural Oliver), Electoral Area ‘I’ (Apex, Kaleden, Twin Lakes), and Electoral Area ‘G’ (Rural Keremeos).

Evacuation alerts for some properties within the RDOS, including for the Willowbrook area, were lifted one day later.

In addition to the ground crews, aerial resources have been busy on the Upper Park Rill Creek fire, as well as the Crater Creek fire to the southwest.

With all of the fires in the region, the Penticton Emergency Support Services reception centre has helped over 1,000 evacuees so far, said the city of Penticton.

The centre moved on Tuesday to 199 Ellis Street, with hours limited to 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesday the centre is closed and a decision has yet to be made on whether the centre will be open on Friday.

READ ALSO: Highway 97 to stay closed due to rock slide north of Summerland

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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