Peachland fire crews are preparing in the event the Glen Lake fire reaches the municipality

'Not here to be complacent'

UPDATE 5:50 p.m.

BC Parks has formally closed Eneas Lakes and Darke Lake provincial parks due to the nearby Glen Lake wildfire.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations says officials are not expecting any additional evacuation alerts or orders tonight within the RDCO or District of Peachland.

“However the fire expanded southward impacting the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and BC Parks,” emergency officials say.

BC Parks on Tuesday issued the order closing the two parks until further notice. The RDOS has not issued any additional alerts or orders Tuesday.

The Glen Lake wildfire, estimated at 763 hectares in size, is burning about six kilometres from Peachland’s limits.

“Today, helicopters bucketed the northeast side of the fire and structural protection units were deployed in Peachland neighbourhoods. Cooler temperatures, less wind and higher relative humidity aided the fire fight,” said Central Okanagan Emergency Operations.

BC Wildfire Service information officer Evan Lizotte could not say exactly how much rain fell on the wildfire site Tuesday.

“I would assume just a trace, but there is also the chance of some rain tomorrow,” he said.

“Today it was a good day of heavy buckling onto the east side (of the fire). And heavy equipment was working really hard as well establishing guards.”

Lizotte said crews are still at work building guard on the west flank of the fire and are looking to do the same on the east edge of the blaze.

UPDATE 2:10 p.m.

Peachland's mayor says he has full confidence in the work being done by emergency responders in response to the Glen Lake wildfire burning approximately six kilometres west of the municipal boundary.

In a message to residents, Mayor Patrick Van Minsel says he has been advised the cooler weather being experienced today "makes us hopeful the fire won't advance significantly."

"However, this is a stark reminder for us all to be prepared. Most of us are on evacuation alert and that means we need to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. Do you have your grab-and-go bag packed? How about your family members and neighbours, are they prepared? Is there an elderly person in your neighbourhood that you could help? Please walk around and look over your property with FireSmart principles in mind? Now is the time to get ready," writes Van Minsel.

"Our emergency responders and support staff are ready. They have been busy deploying structure protection units in key areas of the community, determined through strategic planning which takes place every morning and every night, amending plans as fire behaviour changes.

"Please stay away from restricted areas and if you are placed on Evacuation Order, please leave immediately, in an orderly manner. Emergency responders are needed addressing the emergency, not convincing people they are in danger."

Van Minsel asks residents to keep an eye on the community but stresses only call 9-11 for emergencies.

"We are in this together and resilient Peachlanders have faced adversity before. This won’t be the last time, either, if this provincial fire season is the norm. I encourage you to find the information you need to be prepared and to sign up to receive e-notification from www.cordemergency.ca."

UPDATE 12:05 p.m.

The Peachland Fire Department is preparing in case the Glen Lake wildfire enters the municipality.

Fire Chief Dennis Craig says structure protection crews will be in neighbourhoods over the next few days conducting planning and pre planning work.

"They are going to be in neighbourhoods and walking around properties to determine where the best spots are to lay lines, put up sprinklers and the types of water sources we have available," Craig told Castanet News.

"We are starting in the Upper Princeton Avenue area. We have two crews, one will take the south side and one the north side."

The work is very precautionary, but Craig says they want to get it done well in advance of the fire so it can be done methodically, and hope it's never needed.

"Mother Nature will dictate that."

The fire remains six to eight kilometres west of the municipal boundary, but Craig says just a few weeks ago, the McDougall Creek fire spotted across Okanagan Lake.

"Granted the weather then was very different than it is today but my big thing is we're not here to be complacent. We are here for our community and we want to make sure we're prepared for what Mother Nature throws at us next," he says.

Evacuation orders issued Sunday for a handful of properties on Glen Lake Forest Service Road remain in effect as do alerts issued late Monday afternoon encompassing much of the municipality.

"We understand that can produce a lot of stress but at the same time the purpose of doing that is to give the residents time to prepare. That's the important part.

"Wherever we can we try to avoid tactical evacuations, so this gives residents time to start talking as a family and coming up with a plan."

UPDATE 10:15 a.m.

It was a good night for firefighters tackling the Glen Lake wildfire burning west of Peachland.

As expected, cooler temperatures overnight quietened the fire and helped to slow its progress.

Similar gloomy and misty conditions this morning will again aid firefighting efforts.

"The weather looks like it will be favourable today. With this gloomy weather...people don't want to be outside but it's beneficial for us from a fire perspective," said BC Wildfire Service fire information officer Evan Lizotte.

"The cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity will definitely help the fire behaviour stay lower than it was yesterday."

Lizotte says firefighters expect to encounter rank two and three fire behaviour, low to moderately vigorous surface fire.

The fire remains mapped at 763 hectares in size with the leading edge now about six kilometres from the municipality.

The plan for the fire remains as it was on Monday, to hit the fire hard along the eastern edge.

He says structural protection in the Glen Lake area is now complete freeing up those firefighters as well.

Lizotte also says the winds are pushing toward the east, but the hope is those winds will shift toward the west later in the day.

Helicopters will continue bucketing throughout the day. Those helicopters are moving between the Glen Lake and McDougall Creek fires.

Ten pieces of heavy equipment are dedicated to the Glen Lake fire.


Firefighters working on the line of the Glen Lake wildfire hope cooler temperatures and calmer winds will aid in their efforts Tuesday.

The fire, still eight kilometres west of Peachland, grew significantly during the day Monday. BC Wildfire Service fire information officer Evan Lizotte says the fire is now mapped at 763 hectares.

Much of that growth came on the eastern flank of the fire.

"It's going to be pretty much the same," Lizotte told Castanet News late Monday evening when talking about the attack plan for Tuesday.

"We do have helicopters bucketing that eastern flank and we've put in a line of retardant which will assist in slowing it down."

With the cooler weather and calmer winds overnight Monday, Lizotte wasn't expecting much movement.

"(Tuesday) will have a little less warmth and a little less wind so we are hoping to make some headway with the bucketing.

More evacuation alerts were put in place Monday evening by the Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre, the District of Summerland and the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.

Evacuation alerts include most of Peachland excluding Peachland Beach Avenue neighbourhoods and the downtown area. Alerts in the RDOS region include parts of Faulder and the north end of Summerland's Garnet Valley.

An interactive map of evacuation zones from the RDOS is here. A map of RDCO evacuation zones is here.

This story will be updated with the latest on the fire throughout the day.

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