Controlled burn above the Irish Creek area, taken at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. (Okanagan Indian Band - Facebook)

Controlled burn above the Irish Creek area, taken at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. (Okanagan Indian Band - Facebook)

White Rock Lake wildfire nears containment after successful planned burn

BC Wildfire Service estimates the fire could be contained within seven to 10 days

UPDATE: 8:40 p.m.

After the success of a planned 3,000-hectare burn on the White Rock Lake wildfire on Monday, the BC Wildfire Service is estimating the fire may be contained by sometime next week.

“These ignitions worked to securing the northeast perimeters, which allows #BCWildfire to recommend to local authorities that their Evacuation Orders & Alerts may be downgraded much sooner,” the wildfire service tweeted on Monday evening.

The burn has vastly accelerated the containment timeline for the fire, to seven to 10 days from BC Wildfire’s previous estimate of more than six weeks.

Smoke will continue to pour from the ignition area over the next several days. Ground and air crews will remain on-site to patrol.

The fire continues to burn at an estimated 81,362 hectares in size.

UPDATE 4 p.m.:

Firefighters are about halfway done the large 3,000-hectare burn on the White Rock Lake wildfire’s northeast flank as of 3 p.m.

Smoke is visible to surrounding communities and is included to increase into the evening.

Residents are reminded to monitor Environment Canada’s air quality index before performing activities outdoors.

UPDATE 1:20 p.m.:

The planned 3,000-hectare burn is underway and the smoke is visible to many surrounding communities.

BC Wildfire Services are now working along the second section along Six Mile Creek after completing the Irish Creek area earlier today.

At least one 911 call was made, reporting plumes of smoke, but it was deemed a part of the controlled burn.

Area residents are warned of significantly visible smoke from this burn and, in turn, the air quality.

In preparation for the planned work, the Armstrong Spallumcheen Fire Department and BC Wildfire Services placed large blue containers holding 21,000 gallons of water around the Township of Spallumcheen, as a precautionary measure.

ORIGINAL:

Conditions are working in favour with BC Wildfire Service’s planned 3,000-hectare burn in the northeast corner of the White Rock Lake wildfire Monday which is now burning an estimated 81,362 hectares.

Targeting the Irish Creek Road area on the Westside, the low-intensity burn is a critical key to achieve containment in the area, the provincial agency said.

“Planned ignitions are the safest way to remove fuel that can burn well into fall and winter by the wildfire,” a late-night Sunday update reads.

Two helicopters with plastic sphere dispenser (PSD) machines and another with a heli-torch will work on aerial ignitions while 40 BC Wildfire firefighters will work to ignite by hand on the grounds.

Six heavy helicopters will work to provide cooling supports and structure protection task forces will be ready to defend homes and businesses if necessary. Additional air support is also available if it’s required.

Due to the region’s extreme drought conditions, this burn is key to secure the fire perimeter and ensure no more fuel is available for further growth.

“Without these ignitions, the wildfire will continue to burn out of control into fall in heavy fuels with the potential to impact Highway 97 and the surrounding interface,” the agency said.

READ MORE: Ground crews working to identify hotspots and hazards at White Rock Lake fire

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B.C. Wildfires 2021