West Kelowna  

Crews make good progress protecting power line at Brenda Creek wildfire

Fire 'looking really good'

UPDATE: 2:35 p.m.

There continues to be good news coming from the fire line at the Brenda Creek wildfire, burning south of the Okanagan Connector.

During a livestreamed update Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for the BC Wildfire Service said fire activity has slowed significantly at the large wildfire, which is still pegged at 662 hectares.

"There's wispy white smoke, which for us as firefighters, it's a really good indicator and sign that there's not a lot of hot fire activity in that area," said Dennis Rexin, BC Wildfire Service's incident commander for the Okanagan complex.

"It is looking really good in there."

Rexin noted they've been using "mass-water delivery" sprinkler systems to protect the main BC Hydro power line in the area, which is the sole power source for 60,000 homes, as well as for protecting vacation homes in on Headwaters Lake.

"That has been very successful, and it can be operated at night when we've been seeing that activity ... where helicopters are not able to support us under those power lines, especially at night," Rexin said.

He added they're very cognizant of protecting the watershed in the area for the residents of Peachland.

Rexin noted the Peachland Creek drainage has been challenging to access in the past week.

"There's significant danger in the Peachland Creek drainage for our wildland firefighters to establish safe access and egress and the ability to provide containment on that incident," he said.

"So as we've got good conditions and appropriate precautions and anchor points in place, we will be going direct into the Peachland Creek to create containment lines and mop up."

UPDATE: 10:15 a.m.

Fire activity at the Brenda Creek wildfire slowed Thursday night, allowing fire crews to make even more progress protecting the nearby BC Hydro line.

The BC Wildfire Service said Friday morning that the fire's behaviour slowed down through the evening, limiting fire growth, and the "high-volume water system" that's been in place to protect the power line was only required intermittently.

"Crews were able to begin mop up along the transmission line," the BCWS says.

In addition to the 43 BCWS firefighters and four helicopters working on the fire, 16 firefighters from four local municipal fire departments are making "good progress" protecting the power line.

The BC Hydro line is the sole power line that delivers electricity to more than 60,000 homes in Peachland, West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation.

The fire's size remains estimated at 662 hectares.

ORIGINAL: 6:05 a.m.

Fire crews made good progress Thursday on fighting the Brenda Creek wildfire along the power line that serves West Kelowna.

Crews continued to reinforce sections of guard line on the northwest corner of the fire by burning off fuel between the guard and the fire with small, hand ignition operations. Southwest winds were consistent all day, causing an increase in activity and some growth to the southeast.

The fire continues to burn out of control south of the Okanagan Connector and is estimated at 662 hectares in size.

Helicopters were used Thursday to bucket water on to hotspots, and will continue today, the BC Wildfire Service said in a Thursday night update.

A mass water delivery system is in place to protect the section of the transmission line within the fire perimeter and has been effective in assisting with protection of the line, the wildfire service say. The power line remains operational.

Four firefighters and three support staff remained on site again tonight to monitor the fire and protect high-value features.

Forty-two firefighters, three helicopters and 14 pieces of heavy equipment were working on the blaze Thursday. They are supported by 24 additional staff, including a BCWS Incident Management Team and 16 firefighters from four different local fire departments.

An evacuation order remains in place for 43 properties, along with evacuation alerts for Eneas Lakes, Pennask Lake, Trepanier, and Pennask Creek provincial parks, three properties in Electoral Area M, and three recreational camping areas south of Highway 97C and northwest of Peachland.

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