Planned ignitions were conducted by fire crews on the south side of the wildfire near Gallagher Lake Thursday to help contain the Eagle Bluff wildfire, now an estimated 2,270 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)

UPDATE: Evacuation alerts for 250 properties due to Eagle Bluff wildfire

A total of 180 firefighters are now assigned to the blaze, and 20 attended to the fire overnight

UPDATE 11:49 a.m., Aug. 10

The British Columbia Wildfire Service says a fire in the province’s south Okanagan remains out of control but its direction offers a better chance for containment.

The blaze has charred nearly 23 square kilometres since it was discovered.

Evacuation alerts remain in effect for more than 250 properties, including the Okanagan Correctional Centre, but no homes or outbuildings have been lost.

Environment Canada is calling for a risk of lightning in the southern Okanagan on Saturday but is also forecasting slightly cooler temperatures and weekend showers across much of the parched region.

– with files from the Canadian Press

UPDATE 1:37 p.m.

BC Wildfire Service says there hasn’t been much growth to the Eagle Bluff wildfire Friday.

“The fire is currently 2270 hectares, 173 ground fire crew is on-site during the day, and 20 fire personnel working at night,”said BC Wildfire Services information officer Shannon Street.

She said there are current 13 helicopters and 19 pieces of heavy-duty equipment being used to douse the fire.

Street says the wind is coming from the south, pushing the fire north for the first time.

According to Environment Canada, a storm is expected on Saturday.

UPDATE: 10:03 a.m.

The Eagle Bluff fire has once again grown. BC Wildfire is estimating the blaze 10 km southeast of Okanagan Falls is 2260 hectares.

More growth is expected in the coming days however, the fire is growing in south and southeast direction away from communities.

According to BC Wildfire the anticipated growth on the blaze is a positive thing as it will allow the fire to move into a safer more workable terrain for ground crews, heavy equipment and the aircraft given that the current airspace over the fire right now is relatively tight.

On Thursday, firefighters conducted a successful planned ignition operation east of the Mudd Lake area, towards McKinney Road. No structures were impacted and sprinkler protection crews monitored the situation throughout the night.

Today crews will work to complete guard construction and hoselay along the southwest flank to Manuels Canyon Road as well as southeast from Manuels Canyon Road to McKinney Road. Crews are working to secure the West flank above Gallagher Lake and continue to protect hydro powerline infrastructure.

Firefighters will also work to prevent the spread of flames toward the Inkaneep Reserve. A planned burn is scheduled for this afternoon, pending favourable conditions. This burn-out will be very visible to residents in the Manuals Canyon Road area.

Structure protection specialists are on scene and continue to monitor and assess to residences in the evacuation Alert area. Residents may see protection crews securing the sprinkler line behind Country Pines Mobile Home Park, on Friday.

The steep and rocky terrain in the area is a challenge and site safety is a priority.

————

The Eagle Bluff wildfire burning north of Oliver now covers an estimated 2,270 hectares, according to a Thursday night update from BC Wildfire Service.

The blaze was thought to be 1,500 hectares as of Thursday morning, but was expected to grow overnight.

Planned ignitions were conducted by fire crews on the south side of the wildfire near Gallagher Lake. Another was conducted from the Mudd Lake area to the McKinney Road area. BC Wildfire Service says the ignitions were successful. Most of the fire’s growth came due to controlled ignitions on Wednesday. These ignitions are designed to burn off fuels that could spread the fire to nearby communities.

BC Wildfire Service also conducted a night vision flight to support the overnight fire crew and help detect new blazes.

A total of 180 firefighters are now assigned to the blaze, and 20 attended to the fire overnight. Resources now include 13 helicopters and 19 heavy equipment units. Air tankers are also continuing to support ground crews.

An evacuation alert is in effect as of Thursday morning at the Regional District of the Okanagan-Similkameen’s electoral area C and the Osoyoos Indian Band. Properties on McCuddy Creek Road, Old Camp McKinney Road, Porcupine Road and Shrike Hill Road were added to the alert list Wednesday evening.

People living in an alert zone are advised to pack essential items and keepsakes, and to establish a meeting place outside the evacuation area.

Affected residents needing transportation assistance from the area can call the RDOS Emergency Operations Centre at 250-490-4225.

Read More: Eagle Bluff wildfire grows to 1260 hectares, more properties on alert

Read More: 100 more fire officials called to fight Eagle Bluff wildfire


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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