After spreading a little Saturday afternoon, the Old Tom Creek fire in the South Okanagan is still rated as being held. Photo courtesy BC Wildfire

After spreading a little Saturday afternoon, the Old Tom Creek fire in the South Okanagan is still rated as being held. Photo courtesy BC Wildfire

Winds stirring up wildfires

Old Tom Creek fire still being held despite winds blowing into grass Saturday

The Old Tom Creek wildfire is still rated as being held, after high temperatures and gusty winds helped spread it into grassland southwest of the fire Saturday afternoon.

The fire, burning about seven kilometres west of Olalla, is estimated at 1025 hectares.

Related: Update: Flames and smoke from Old Tom Creek wildfire visible 15 km west of Keremeos

There are areas of steep terrain that are unsafe and inoperable for crews to access. BC Wildfire Service crews and helicopters have been working on limiting the spread of the fire and ensuring it does not pose a threat to property. These works will continue over the coming days.

Community members can still expect to see smoke within the perimeter over the coming weeks. According to the BCWS, this is common with large wildfires and will continue until the region receives significant rainfall or snowfall.

“If smoke is seen coming from well within a fire’s perimeter and the area is surrounded by black, burned material, this is typically not a concern,” according to the BCWS update.

“We had crews and helicopters out there yesterday evening until dusk. It sounds like it didn’t really do much overnight. They will be assessing it today and we will have crews out,” said Nicole Bonnet. There are 125 personnel out there today, including heavy equipment and helicopters.

Snowy Mountain, which has been burning since July 17 south of Keremeos, is estimated at 17,068 hectares, and is also listed as being held.

Related: No crews on site of Snowy Mountain wildfire

Parts of the fire are visible from Keremeos and Highway 3. Residents and motorists can expect to see increased activity in the evening hours and smoke throughout the day. There is currently no threat to property or Highway 3.

Again, smoke will persist from within the fire perimeter, but BCWS is not expecting the fire to spread beyond their identified fire analysis area.

The BC Wildfire Service Incident Management Team assigned to the Snowy Mountain Fire is working collaboratively with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources due to the fire crossing the border.

Juliet Creek, burning 47 kilometres southwest of Merritt, is estimated at 2,432 hectares and crews continue to mop up along the established control lines.

Related: Evacuation order for wildfire near Merritt rescinded

The Cool Creek wildfire, burning near the eastern entrance to Manning Park, is estimated at 14,372 hectares, and is classed as out of control.

Related: Cool Creek wildfire unaffected by high winds

Afternoon and overnight winds have been causing an increase in fire activity at Cool Creek, and the BCWS said there is the possibility for the fire to spread through available fuels.


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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