Most of Peachland placed on evacuation alert due to Glen Lake wildfire

Most of Peachland on alert

Cindy White

UPDATE 8:50 p.m.

The Glen Lake wildfire burning west of Peachland has grown in size to 763 hectares.

That's the latest mapping from the BC Wildfire Service.

BCWS fire information officer Evan Lizotte says the fire growth has been to the east flank of the blaze.

"That's the side of the fire we have been working on with bucketing and retardant," Lizotte told Castanet News.

"The fire still remains about eight kilometres away from the municipality."

Lizotte expects the plan for Tuesday will be much the same as it was today which means more concentrated work along the east side of the fire.

"We'll have helicopters bucketing that east flank as I mentioned and we put in a line of retardant which will assist in slowing it down.

"Luckily with the cooler weather tonight, we're not expected it move too much tonight. Tomorrow is going to be a little bit like today, maybe a little less warmth and a little less wind, so we're hoping to make some good headway with the bucketing."

Lizotte says the fire is still exhibiting rank four behaviour, a highly vigorous surface fire with some torching.

He expects to see similar behaviour Tuesday or possibly a little less depending on the conditions.

UPDATE 6:45 p.m.

Evacuation alerts have been issued by the District of Summerland and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen due to the threat from the Glen Lake wildfire.

Because of the potential danger to life and health, the District of Summerland and the RDOS have issued an evacuation alert for numerous properties within the municipality and Electoral Areas H and F.

Click here for a list of addresses affected and a map of the affected region.

The alert zone includes Faulder, Meadow Valley, Garnet Valley (within the District of Summerland), and the west side of Highway 97 north of District of Summerland.

The alert has been issued to prepare you to evacuate your premises or property should it be found necessary.

Residents will be given as much advance notice as possible prior to evacuation; however, you may receive limited notice due to changing conditions.

Evacuation alerts issued for the District of Peachland earlier Monday remain in effect.

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.

Most of Peachland has been placed on evacuation alert as a result of the growing Glen Lake wildfire.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre announced the move shortly after 5 p.m. Monday.

All areas within the Regional District of Central Okanagan south of the Brenda Mine site, southwest of Highway 97C (Okanagan Connector) and west of Highway 97 are included within the new evacuation alert boundary.

The exception is Peachland Beach Avenue neighbourhoods or the downtown area.

The evacuation alert area is contained with the interactive map.

Anyone in the alert zone must be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice and be away from their property for an extended period of time.

Evacuation orders issued Sunday for recreational properties accessed off Glen Lake Forest Service Road remain in effect.

The wildfire, now burning eight kilometres from Peachland, is estimated at 650 hectares in size with windy conditions continuing to challenge fire suppression activities. The BCWS website is currently showing a larger fire size, but Castanet has confirmed that is in error and the site will be updated shortly.

Two tankers have deposited retardant lines to protect infrastructure.

UPDATE 3:45 p.m

BC Wildfire Service has added more aircraft to fight the Glen Lake wildfire.

BCWS information officer Evan Lizotte tells Castanet that a bird dog aircraft has been added and two tankers have also begun dropping fire retardant in the area.

"We received one bird dog aircraft and two tankers that we're going to be utilizing on the Glen Lake wildfire. The aircraft were available so of course, we took them," says Lizotte.

The wind was gusting stronger than forecast in the vicinity of the Glen Lake wildfire Monday.

Environment Canada meteorologist Derek Lee told Castanet sustained winds were blowing at 30-40 km/h with gusts near 60 km/h.

The forecast calls for cooler temperatures with a slight chance of showers, but Lee said any precipitation that does form might not reach the ground. He also points out that windy conditions are expected to continue into Tuesday, with sustained winds near 20 km/h and gusts near 40 km/h.

The Glen Lake wildfire west of Peachland has now grown to 639 hectares in size.

UPDATE 2:05 p.m.

The Glen Lake wildfire west of Peachland is now 639 hectares in size.

BC Wildfire Service information officer Evan Lizotte says the new size, up from 445 hectares this morning, can be attributed to new growth today.

“It's a windy day today, a little windier than we expected,” Lizotte said. “We're just hoping that these winds die off in the next couple of days as the forecast is saying.”

Ground crews, heavy equipment and helicopters continue to attack the wildfire.

Lizotte said little has changed operationally for them since this morning with the exception of the larger fire size.

Evacuation alerts and orders from the Regional District of Central Okanagan and the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen remain in place. The fire is burning eight kilometres west of Peachland.

UPDATE 1:50 p.m.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) has now issued its own evacuation alerts related to the Glen Lake wildfire.

The wildfire, last mapped at 445 hectares, is burning near the boundaries of the RDOS and Regional District of Central Okanagan, about eight kilometres west of Peachland.

The RDOS alerts issued Monday afternoon are for seven properties on Fish Lake Road and the surrounding rural area. No evacuation orders have been issued by the RDOS.

With the fire burning near jurisdictional boundaries, residents will have to check two separate evacuation maps.

The RDOS evacuation map is here.

The RDCO evacuation map is here.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations has expanded the evacuation alert area around the Glen Lake wildfire.

Emergency officials say they took the step in anticipation of increased fire behaviour today due to weather.

Castanet reporter Cindy White, standing at an evacuation roadblock set up at the top of Princeton Avenue in Peachland, says the wind is blowing very hard.

The expanded evacuation alert area now now includes all areas east of the Brenda Forest Service Road starting at the 1.5 kilometre marker on the forest service road to Brenda Mines Road, all areas abutting the Peachland Forest Service Road between Brenda Mines Road and the Glen Lake Forest Service Road, and extending south to the boundary between the Regional District of Central Okanagan and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

The properties at 4900 Brenda Mines Road, 5875 Brenda Mines Road and Greata Creek Camp are also all on alert.

The rural nature of the area makes it challenging to provide detailed directions, so the public is asked to check the interactive evacuation map.

Anyone in the alert zone must be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice and be away from their property for an extended period of time.

Evacuation order areas remain unchanged.

Peachland fire chief Dennis Craig says municipal firefighters are supporting the BC Wildfire Service on structural protection.

“We're assisting with the protection of the cabins up in the Glen Lake area. We started that yesterday and we provide support again today there. We did provide a water tender yesterday to fill some water bladders up in that area as well,” Craig said.

“As far as our own community, we do have obviously some concerns with the fire — it is blowing towards the community, or behind the community. And we're not really sure what the weather is going to bring to us over the next several days — so we are preparing.”

Craig says fire crews are hopeful cooler temperatures will help slow the rapid growth of the fire that was seen Sunday when the blaze exploded from 10 hectares to 450 in the course of the day. The fire is now eight kilometres west of Peachland.

"Even with these winds, they said we are expecting a little bit less than the fire behaviour. But let's see what what Mother Nature has to say."

ORIGINAL 9:10 a.m.

The Glen Lake wildfire outside Peachland is still mapped at 450 hectares Monday morning.

BC Wildfire Service information officer Evan Lizotte says the agency is working alongside Peachland Fire Rescue to respond to the fire.

"The fire had helicopters bucketing throughout the day yesterday (Sunday) and bucketing operations will continue throughout the day today," Lizotte said.

"Heavy equipment is working on establishing a guard on the west end of the fire and structural protection operations will continue today as well."

The weather forecast for Monday is calling for slightly cooler and less windy conditions which should also help the firefighters.

"Yesterday was a very hot and windy day. Today shouldn't be as hot," Lizotte said, explaining they are expecting temperatures of 20 C with winds of 15 to 20 km/h, gusting 30 to 35 km/h.

"Yesterday, it was gusting 40 to 50 km/h. So it's still high enough winds where we're going to be challenged with it. But we're definitely going to be hitting it with the bucketing operations. That's the main goal."

Lizotte says crews are aiming to complete the fire guard on the west end of the fire and they hope the winds will remain favourable and continue to blow the fire away from Peachland.

BC Hydro has power infrastructure in the area but Lizotte believes it is not under an immediate threat.

"Not at this time, we are aware of it and we've been working with Peachland Fire and Rescue to to ensure that area is protected," Lizotte says.

Evacuation alerts and orders remain in place for a handful of recreational properties in the area.

According to the Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre, the evacuation order covers six recreational properties on Glen Lake FSR, including 5503 Glen Lake FSR, along with two recreational properties at the 15/16-kilometre marker of the Glen Lake FSR. Details on the evacuation orders and alerts are here.

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