The Skaha Creek fire burning southwest of Penticton’s airport is now 212 hectares, BC Wildfire confirmed Monday.
“Yesterday’s growth was driven by wind and dry fuel,” said Roslyn Johnson, information officer for the Okanagan Complex Team who has taken over the wildfire.
The wildfire, which is believed to be human-caused, started about 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28. By Sunday afternoon it was over 50 hectares, ballooning to over 150 by nightfall.
“We had better visibility this morning so were able to get a better idea of its size,” said Johnson about the fire growing to 212 ha.
Even though the fire started climbing down the mountain and looking to be getting closer to Skaha Hills, BC Wildfire said it looked worse than it was.
“The fire size did not increase overnight and there are no structures threatened at this time,” said Johnson.
The inferno display at the top of the mountain did appear to look like an erupting volcano.
“At night, the fire can look much worse because you have the dark landscape contrasted with the orange flames. But the fire was only showing moderate behaviour.”
Today, they are attacking the fire with 53 ground crew and 13 arriving later today, using a direct attack with eight people with heavy equipment working the west and north flanks creating a machine guard.
There are four helicopters bucking and air tankers dropping fire retardant.
A bird dog was flying above this fire assessing the need for skimmers to be used today.
So far, skimmers aren’t being used like they were on Sunday, where many people encountered the four dropping down into Okanagan Lake near the SS Sicamous paddlewheeler to refill all day.
There are no evacuation orders or alerts expected today but they are constantly evaluating the situation and fire behaviour, said Johnson.
The Penticton Indian Band has activated their Emergency Operations Centre and will update residents on their Facebook pages.
“We are seeing spot fires that have come over the hill and we acknowledge this is alarming.” wrote the PIB on their Facebook page. There were no evacuation alerts or orders placed by the PIB.
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