UPDATE: 8:37 PM
BC Wildfire Service crews conduct scheduled, small-scale ignitions along Highway 3A to fight the Keremeos Creek wildfire.
In a social media post on Tuesday evening, BCWS said that firefighters in the wild are working with structural firefighters to carry out the detonations.
“Crews will use a hand ignition technique and structure protection teams will protect utility pylons and reduce impact on the highway,” BCWS said.
“The purpose of this is to bring the fire to a pre-existing control line by removing unburnt fuel between the fire perimeter and Highway 3A. This will also help minimize spotting potential.”
Highway 3A was closed to traffic on Tuesday afternoon, with no estimated time of reopening.
The Keremeos Creek bushfire, which burns southwest of Penticton, is estimated to cover approximately 2,800 acres and has resulted in the evacuation of more than 320 properties.
In an update on Tuesday, fire chief Bryan Zandberg said Tuesday’s cooler temperatures have helped crews take more aggressive action to fight the fire.
About 230 BCWS and fire brigade personnel across the interior have been assigned to the bushfire.
BC Wildfire Service crews and structural firefighters are currently working together to conduct small-scale scheduled ignitions along Highway 3A. pic.twitter.com/eKcdEvgJ8t
— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) August 3, 2022
UPDATE: 3:20 PM
Weather conditions at the Keremeos Creek wildfires southwest of Penticton allow firefighters to attack more aggressively.
During a livestream update on Aug. 2, BC Wildfire Service information officer Bryan Zandberg said cooler temperatures contributed to the battle on Tuesday.
“We don’t see the fire taking off. There has been some ‘spicy’ as we say along Highway 3A I hear this afternoon, but we have a lot more staff outside,” Zandberg said, referring to the fire activity near the highway that Connects Penticton and Keremeos.
That highway has been closed since Tuesday afternoon with no estimated time of reopening.
Conditions were tough for crews to attack the approximately 2,800-acre fire that has forced the evacuation of more than 320 properties.
“It’s just such a narrow gorge, and that’s where people live, under the ponderosa pines. And so we keep putting a lot of effort into monitoring those areas and every time something pops up that we’re not happy with, [we’re] to reverse it,” Zandberg said.
He said crews are shifting to be “much, much more aggressive” on the fire, now that the temperatures and conditions are cooperating and there are plenty of boots on the ground – 229, to be exact, made up of BCWS personnel and members of fire brigades from all over the interior.
Up in the evacuated village of Apex Mountain, the crews are working hard using the ski area’s snow cannons.
“They have nine or ten around the lower village area stretching out to their quad and triple seat and the idea behind that is to protect Apex Resort’s main assets…the chairlifts, the restaurants, the ski shops, the cafes” , explains Molly Raine, fire prevention officer at Apex Volunteer Fire Rescue.
“They’re currently wetting the surrounding areas, but they can just as quickly flip them over to face the buildings and soak them.”
Zandberg said the outlook is positive for strong action against the wildfire in the future, but warned it could be a long road.
“Given where it burns, it will probably burn for a while in part of this high country. But that doesn’t mean we can’t really get things quiet… So we keep taking action on it really hard,” says Zandberg.
“Right now we’re seeing an increase in fire behavior in the province. So that’s also something to keep in mind. But right now we have a good level of resources and more are coming. So we’re just going to continue to be really aggressive and We are working to fulfill the plans we have to address the current fire footprint and critical values at risk in that area.”
Click here to learn more about resources for those threatened by the wildfire.
UPDATE: 2 p.m.
Okanagan Similkameen Regional District will have a live update on the wildfire situation at Keremeos Creek at 2pm.
UPDATE: 11:30 a.m.
Castanet News reporter Casey Richardson was live on the scene at Yellow Lake with an update and a look at the conditions of the Keremeos Creek bushfire. View the images above.
Officials just announced that Highway 3A will be closed between the intersection of Highway 97 and Keremeos until further notice.
The Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District Emergency Operations Center (RDOS EOC) has developed a procedure for residents with an evacuation order to gain temporary access to their properties.
Residents must request temporary entry before 5pm for access the following day. Residents in the area of the evacuation order can request a temporary entry permit by email [email protected] or call 250-490-4231. Temporary entry permits are only for emergencies, which are a matter of life and death.
The purpose of the temporary permits is to provide residents with safe and organized access to their properties. The RCMP and other private security guards control access and protect property being evacuated. All residents without authorized entry are asked to stay well away from properties on evacuation orders.
Southwest corner of the Keremeos Creek Wildfire on Tuesday