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Kelowna  

No buildings burned

UPDATED 7:55 p.m.

The Huckleberry Fire, in the Joe Rich area east of Kelowna, is now 50 per cent contained. Containment was achieved primarily along the south and west flanks after hard work by BC Wildfire Service crews and the Central Okanagan Regional District.

The fire has now been mapped at 55 hectares in size.

Forty firefighters, two helicopters and three water tenders are on site from the BC Wildfire Service to assist structural firefighters from the Joe Rich, Big White and Lake Country fire departments.

A crew of twenty BC Wildfire Service firefighters will remain onsite overnight to monitor fire activity. The cause of this wildfire is still under investigation.

The fire is visible from Highway 33 and there are homes located in close proximity to the fire.

An evacuation order and alert have been issued by the Central Okanagan Regional District. For more information on these evacuations, visit:  http://www.cordemergency.ca

Highway 33 is now open to single lane, alternating traffic. For the latest on road closures in the area, visit: www.drivebc.ca

To report smoke, flames or an unattended campfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or dial *5555 on a cellphone.

For up-to-date information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air-quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca or call 1 888 3-FOREST.


The Regional District of Central Okanagan held a press conference today with fire crews to explain the current condition of the 80-hectare fire burning in Joe Rich, east of Kelowna.

The fire has not reached any buildings yet, according to Joe Rich Fire Department assistant chief Ben Wasyliuk, but it has come close.

“We’ve got a few properties right along Highway 33 that we are actioning,” Wasyliuk said. “There are active spot fires that are definitely within 50 metres of those homes.”

Wasyliuk said the fire is still very active, but “we are in a much better position than where we were yesterday.”

Kelowna Coun. Gale Given, chair of the RDCO, said the crews battling the fire come from the Joe Rich, Ellison, Big White and Lake Country fire departments. 

There have been 142 properties evacuated from the area, and 158 are under evacuation alert. There is no word yet on when residents can go home.

“Everything that can be done is being done to get you back safely into your homes as quickly as possible,” Given said. “Because this is still an active fire, we will not be sending anyone home until it is absolutely safe to do so.”

The fire is approximately 50 per cent contained, according to B.C. Wildfire Service forest protection technician Dale Bojahra.

While there has been no official statement released as to the cause of the fire, Bojahra said “it’s pretty safe to assume it’s human caused.”

Castanet reported earlier in the day on a resident who said a cigarette was the cause of the fire. 



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