UPDATE: 7:01 p.m.
The BC Wildfire Service says the 33-hectare wildfire smouldering west of Peachland hasn’t seen any new growth throughout the day.
The Pigeon Creek wildfire, which was discovered on Sunday, has been burning in steep terrain on the slopes of Lookout Mountain.
Aydan Coray, BCWS fire information officer, said Tuesday evening that the wildfire behaviour is characterized as a smouldering surface or ground fire.
“Not much for open flame today, or vigorous fire behaviour like we were seeing yesterday,” Coray said.
The wildfire, located 6.5 kilometres west of Peachland, is still considered to be out of control. New mapping on the BCWS website shows the fire’s perimeter south of Highway 97C.
On Tuesday, 60 BCWS and contract personnel worked to worked to lay down hose and establish a guard around the fire by removing vegetation.
Ground crews were supported by skimmers in the morning and two helicopters bucketing water later in the day.
BCWS noted skimmers have been using Okanagan Lake to pick up water, and warned the public to keep boats well away from the areas where aircraft are operating.
BC Wildfire crews continue to respond to the Pigeon Creek wildfire (K50624), located 6.5 km west of Peachland. The 33-ha fire remains classified as Out of Control. pic.twitter.com/U5JtGwtf5w— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) June 7, 2023
UPDATE 3:08 p.m.
The BC Wildfire Service now says there are 60 ground crew members fighting the Pigeon Creek wildfire west of Peachland Tuesday afternoon.
"The only major change we have (this afternoon) is we're now up to 60 personnel working on the ground and that's a combination of BC Wildfire Service personnel and contract crew personnel," says Aydan Coray, fire information officer.
The skimmers who had been fighting the fire most of Tuesday morning have been called off and replaced by two helicopters.
"Helicopters allow water to be delivered onto the fire in much more specific areas. So, particularly today, we haven't seen the same fire behaviour we were seeing yesterday allowing our crews to use more direct attack methods. And the helicopters provide that water (that) helps cool the fire areas providing more relative humidity and decreasing fire behaviour for them to work closer," Coray says.
The air skimmer team will now be standing by in case the fire behaviour increases and Coray says the ground crews are continuing to establish a fuel-free guard by removing vegetation and putting a perimeter around the fire, laying down hose and creating a wet line to help secure the perimeter.
UPDATE 11:30 a.m.
The BC Wildfire Service now says there are 50 ground crew members assigned to the Pigeon Creek wildfire west of Peachland.
A skimmer team from Kamloops will be on top of the fire all day, said fire information officer Aydan Coray.
Boaters on Okanagan Lake are asked to give the plane plenty of space to gather water.
Air tankers stationed in Penticton are on standby, she added.
Fire activity Tuesday morning has lessened significantly from 24 hours ago. There is now very little flame visible from the valley below and smoke appears to be emitting mostly from the ground, although there have been flare ups.
The fire is still classified as out of control at 33 hectares.
UPDATE 9:40 a.m.
More ground crew members have been added in the fight against the Pigeon Creek wildfire west of Peachland.
The BC Wildfire Service says there are now 58 ground firefighters assigned to the blaze, up from 44 Monday evening.
"Overnight, two personnel remained on the wildfire to monitor fire behaviour," BCWS said.
Crews are continuing to work today on establishing a fuel-free guard and hose lay on the east and west flanks of the fire.
"Ground crews will be supported by helicopter and the skimmer air tanker group throughout the day," BCWS said.
ORIGINAL 5 a.m.
It’s expected the skies will be busy again Tuesday over the Pigeon Creek wildfire west of Peachland.
The fire, last estimated in size at 33 hectares, is burning in steep terrain on the slopes of Lookout Mountain, above Highway 97C and across from the Upper Trepanier neighbourhood.
BCWS attacked the fire with skimmers, air tankers and helicopters all day Monday and said aircraft will be back in the sky over the fire Tuesday morning.
Forty-four ground crew members are now assigned to the fire, which is not threatening structures or impacting Highway 97C.
By Monday evening, fire activity had slowed considerably to what appeared from the valley below to be mostly a ground fire, but things could pick back up while temperatures rise throughout Tuesday.
Temperatures are expected to hit 28 C on Tuesday before rising to 35 C on Wednesday and Thursday.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but there was no lightning in the area prior to the fire's discovery on Sunday evening.
This story will be updated throughout the day with the latest on the fire.