Princeton fire grows overnight

Weekend weather forecast concerns fire team

The forest fire burning near Princeton grew overnight to 3,000 hectares – or 30 square kilometers – according to BC Wildfire Management.

That is up from 2,700 in the past two days. Thirty square km is roughly three-quarters the size of the City of Penticton.

Information officer Marg Drysdale said the fire is also 10 per cent contained as of yesterday afternoon.

The fire’s size “is due to both some natural growth and crews conducting back burning operations,” she said.

Drysdale said a recently updated weather forecast will create some new challenges for the 155 firefighters currently on scene.

Today there are light westerly winds but “we are going to have some gust wind increases to 20-30 km an hour by Saturday and Sunday.”

There is no precipitation forecasted for the next five days.

“It’s always a concern because as soon as you get any kind of wind on a fire that does increase the fire’s behavior,” she said.

“People have to remember that we don’t control a fire. We can manage a fire and we can steer a fire.”

The latest fire perimeter map available from Wildfire BC puts the blaze approximately 7 km from town.

“People have to understand that there is going to be some growth on that fire. Our job is to make sure that there is as little risk to the public as possible and that’s our priority.

Since Friday 350 homes in the area have been evacuated and another 257 are on evacuation alert.

Monday the Town of Princeton declared a state of emergency, but there are no evacuation alerts within municipal borders.

“I have heard no discussions about that,” said Drysdale.

A new Incident Management Team, this one from Saskatchewan, is arriving here in the next two days, said Drysdale.

“It’s not unusual for teams to transition on and off a fire.”