UPDATE: 3 p.m.
The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is urging Westside residents to prepare for the potential of an extended power outage due to the Brenda Creek wildfire.
Currently, the fire is threatening the only power transmission line to more than 60,000 people in West Kelowna, Peachland and Summerland.
Residents should be prepared for the “unpredictable impact” of forecasted strong winds on the fire, said the EOC in a news release.
“Even with the efforts of the BC Wildfire Service and structural firefighters from Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland and North Westside to defend and protect the main BC Hydro line and transmission corridor, the fire remains out of control at an estimated size of 450 hectares.”
BC Hydro is monitoring the line and has crews on standby to respond if needed.
Local fire crews continue to extinguish hot spots, conduct fuel mitigation and monitor conditions along the hydro corridor.
The Brenda Creek wildfire fire near the Okanagan Connector is still estimated to be burning at 450 hectares in size, although minimal growth was observed on Tuesday.
However, fire information officer Mike McCulley said that crews are preparing for heavy winds and expect to see an increase in both fire behaviour and growth today and tomorrow. That goes for the other two wildfires in the Okanagan Complex, which are located at Thomas Creek and White Rock Lake.
A mass water delivery system is now in place to protect a portion of a transmission line located within the perimeter of the Brenda Creek wildfire
The delivery system consists of a four-inch hose line that supplies water to a series of larger sprinklers via a high-volume pump, which can be turned on quickly if the transmission line is threatened by the fire. The power source is a single transmission line that provides power to 60,000 people in West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland.
There are currently 39 firefighters battling the Brenda Creek blaze, supported by three helicopters and 12 pieces of heavy equipment. An additional 23 support staff are also on scene, which includes members of the BC Wildfire Service incident management team.
Crews will continue to reinforce guard lines with small, planned hand ignitions over the next few days. Six firefighters remained overnight to patrol and continue to work on guard line reinforcement.
McCulley again thanked local fire departments, members of the public and corporate partners for their help.
“It’s a very long season for us. Their support is immense and very important,” he said.