A helicopter on scene at the Richter Creek wildfire, about 12 kilometres west of Osoyoos. (Photo courtesy of BC Wildfire)

Update: Plan to see more smoke from South Okanagan wildfire

Richter Creek wildfire, 12 kilometres west of Osoyoos, is an estimated 400 hectares

Update 10:37 a.m.

A planned ignition to burn off combustible material is anticipated to happen this afternoon at the Richter Creek wildfire, west of Osoyoos.

“We have heavy equipment working overnight and crews established a guard. Now the fire incident management team will be transitioning in to respond to the fire. They have developing operational plans to implement a planned ignition in the early afternoon. They will conduct a burn north and west flanks of the fire depending on weather conditions,” said Nicole Bonnett, fire information officer.

This means the fire will jump up to 560 hectares, as they will have a controlled burn of up to 160 hectares. Bonnett said people will see more smoke in the area due to the controlled burn.

“It will remove the combustible fuels and bring the fire down to a more workable area because the terrain that is currently burning is not great or safe to put crews into all the areas. This brings it down to safe, workable ground,” she said.

There is currently 60 firefighters on the scene and 20 more on the way to assist. Helicopters will provide bucketing support today and air tankers will lay down retardant lines to further bolster the guard.

With a long weekend coming out, Bonnett is reminding everyone to keep watch and if they suspect a fire to call it in.

“As we move into the long weekend we are seeing conditions that allow wildfires to ignite. We want everyone to be mindful of their activities and if they see a wildfire to call,” she said.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

*******************************

More evacuation alerts were put in place as the Richter Creek wildfire, 12 kilometres west of Osoyoos, continues to burn.

B.C. Wildfire said a vehicle fire that spread to adjacent grass is the cause of the blaze, which is now at an estimated 400 hectares.

Hannah Swift, a fire information officer, said two helicopters and over 40 firefighters are on the ground. The fire is classified as out of control at this time, and a number of resources dedicated to the fire will continue to increase over the coming days.

There are 13 properties in Cawston (west of Osoyoos) now on evacuation alert. These include 10 on Sumac Road (House numbers 154, 156, 164, 172, 190, 264, 296, 306, 611 and 620) and three properties on Highway 3.

READ MORE: Richter Creek wildfire now an estimated 400 hectares

This is the first major wildfire for the year for the Kamloops Fire Region and the second wildfire of note in the province — the other fire is 236 hectares and is burning west of Vanderhoof near Fraser Lake.

According to Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, this isn’t a signal of another hot summer for fires in B.C. He said rainfall throughout the province is slightly above average for a normal year.

“The other key issue will depend on what we have in terms of rainfall precipitation in June. That is the bigger predictor of where the fire season is going,” he added.

READ MORE: June rain will tell if B.C. is in for another hot wildfire season

The B.C. Wildfire Service’s early summer outlook notes that a dry March was eased by normal April weather, and June is traditionally a wetter month. Lack of rain in May and June set up conditions for record fire damage in 2017 and 2018.

The province has a multi-media awareness campaign underway to remind people to be safe with any combustible materials.

“There are significant penalties in place for people who are found to have started fires, up to $1 million,” Farnworth said. “People need to be aware that careless activity, whether it’s a campfire or a cigarette butt out the window, can cause extraordinary damage. Two years ago, at least half the fires were human caused.”

To date, there have been 29 fires — one human-caused — in the Kamloops Fire Centre, burning 281 ha. Across the province, there have been 169 fires, seven of them human-caused.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Cache Creek landfill extension set for September completion

Project has been delayed due to wildfires and floods over past two years

Drag races set to return for Graffiti Days weekend

Annual event features old favourites like the smoke show, and new events like a drive-in movie

Bonaparte River fishway, Thompson steelhead among projects awarded grant funding

More than $9 million will help 170 fish and wildlife projects around B.C.

Wellness clinics provide free, drop-in health information

New service in Clinton helps patients manage their health care and stay out of hospital

Soccer Report

Reflections as the soccer season reaches the halfway point

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana growing ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Nisga’a Nation tourism industry hits the road

First pilot tour to the Nass Valley is set for this summer with Indigenous Tourism BC

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Man in B.C. charged with murder and arson in 2016 New Brunswick death

He is charged in the death of 71-year-old Lucille Maltais, who was found inside a burned down home

Most Read