Thursday, July 31st14.9°C

Brush fire in Oyama

Warm temperatures and dry conditions worried local fire crews after a vehicle backfired and flames spread to nearby brush along Oyama Lake Road.

Forestry crews were initially called in with a Bird Dog to take a look at the situation, but fire information officer Melissa Welsh says they have been told to stand down.

Lake Country Fire department remains on scene, but Welsh says the blaze appears to be under control.

The vehicle was extensively damaged in the blaze.

It is not known if any structures were threatened, but the situation appears to be contained.


Hot and dry raises fire rating

The fire danger rating within the Kamloops fire region continues to climb as quickly as the mercury.

With no end in sight to temperatures in the low to mid 30s over the next seven days, the fire danger rating has risen to moderate to high throughout the region.

Fire Information Officer, Dave Steeves, says much of the region remains moderate with pockets of high around Merritt, Vernon, Princeton and Osoyoos.

"Things are progressing," says Steeves from the Wildfire Management Branch in Kamloops.

"And, with the forecast weather we have for the next couple of days we are thinking we are going to sneak into high pretty much all around before too much longer. These ratings are fluid...they're changing all the time."

The latest fire danger ratings are available from the ministry website.

Steeves says things such as fuel loads combined with current weather patterns, relative humidity levels etc. go into determining the fire danger rating.

"It's a way for us to rate how severe the conditions will be and how we will predict safe ways in order to put our people in to attack a situation if one does come up."

With no appreciable precipitation in the forecast and the long weekend coming up Steeves says there is always reason for concern.

"With the long weekend coming up that usually means there are going to be a lot more folks in the woods...and more folks in the woods increases our chances for human caused fires," says Steeves.

"That's really where the issue lies. Human caused fires are fires that can be prevented so it's important people are taking those precautions to prevent fires where they can so we can re-allocate the resources we have to fight fires that can't be prevented like lightning strikes."

Steeves stresses people in the back country need to pay strict attention to the no burning provision and to be extremely careful with smoking materials and matches.

Interior Health power failure

The power outage that shut down Interior Health’s website last week also presented problems for both patients and staff.

It was a complete blackout across the entire IH region on July 21, which was triggered by a power outage at the main data centre in Kelowna. Multiple power surges over the previous weekend caused electrical damage to one of their components. And their backup system was able to carry through until Monday morning, when the shutdown occurred.

Communications Officer Grace Kucey says the power failure affected computer and phone systems, causing many employees to go back to a pen and paper system.

The situation is being reviewed and Interior Health hopes to prevent such occurrences from happening in the future.

Twenty-two hospitals and over 19,000 staff members were affected by the outage.

Some scheduled surgeries were also delayed, but have since been rebooked.


Missing hiker found

Update -- 9:15 a.m.

COSAR is reporting that the 39-year-old missing hiker has been located and they are now bringing him out.

Crews set up a staging area at Gem Lake, and the Big White Fire Department also assisted in the rescue.

The Central Okanagan Search and Rescue team is gearing up Wednesday morning to look for a missing hiker.

A single man went hiking on Big White Mountain and failed to return last night.

COSAR is beginning their search at 7:30 a.m.

The man is said to be experienced in the outdoors.

Members of the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association also helped out by conducting an air search last night.

We’ll have more details when they become available.

Skeet range takes flack

Several residents of the Trepanier area filled the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) chambers Monday, concerned about a skeet shooting range and an RV park proposed for the area.

The application was submitted by the Central Okanagan Shotgun Sports Club to Front Counter BC.

That provincial agency in turn forwarded the application to the RDCO for comment.

"I think there was a bit of miscommunication. They (residents) thought it was re-zoning when in fact it wasn't," says RDCO communications director, Bruce Smith.

The regional board has recommended the province not approve the application until such time as the club has submitted a re-zoning application.

"By doing so the board feels that, should they apply for re-zoning and should it get past first reading, then there would be a public hearing and an opportunity for property owners to make their views known about the proposed land use," says Smith.

Residents of the upper Trepanier area, where the 23.22-hectare facility is proposed for Crown Land, were upset they had not been informed of the application until now.

Smith says because it was a referral and not a rezoning application, public consultation was not required.

He says that would be part of the public hearing process if the application makes it that far.

While the board has recommended the application not be approved at the present time, Smith cautions the province does not have to adhere to those comments.

While the board has made its comments known, Smith says the province can listen to all, some or none of those comments.

The club is asking for a 30-year lease for the property located on the north side of the Okanagan Connector just above most of the development of the Trepanier Road area.

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