Fire almost contained

UPDATE: 8:12 p.m.

Crews at the site of a wildfire near Predator Ridge say it is relatively contained at the perimeter although there are flames in the middle as well as hot spots.

Air support departed as night fell but dozens of firefighters remained at the scene.

"Ground crew will be fighting the fire through the night and provincial wildfire crews will have more ground crew arriving in the morning," said Tanya Laing Gahr, City of Vernon spokesperson.

Tankers and other aircraft will return in the morning if it is required, she said.

The wildfire is estimated to be approximately seven to nine hectares in size.
The evacuation alert for nearby residents will remain in place until further notice.

UPDATE: 6:50 p.m.

Dozens of firefighters will remain at the scene of a wildfire near Predator Ridge overnight. It is reported to be 95 per cent contained by retardant dropped by air tankers.

"Eleven tankers and approximately six helicopters will continue to fight the wildfire near Predator Ridge until 7:30 p.m." said Tanya Laing Gahr, City of Vernon spokesperson.  "The strategy is to contain the fire by creating a perimeter. Currently, 50 firefighters are on the ground and will monitor the fire overnight. "

Laing Gahr said no residents had been ordered evacuated from the area, although people in some 45 homes in Sunset Properties are on standby in case they must leave.

UPDATE: 6:12 p.m.

The City of Vernon has issued an emergency alert asking some residents near Predator Ridge to be on standby in case of an evacuation.

Currently there is no evacuation order but it means residents must be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice, said Tanya Laing Gahr, city spokesperson.

She said people at approximately 45 residences in Sunset Properties had been told to be ready to leave. 

"As at 6 p.m. the fire was approximately 10 hectares and is being driven by the high winds," said Laing Gahr. "There are 11 aircraft involved. Air tankers are flying out of Penticton and laying a perimeter."

She said at least six helicopters were also dropping water on the fire that started just north of the resort community shortly after 3 p.m.

Both Vernon Fire Rescue crews and members of the Ministry of Forests were on the scene.

At 6:35 p.m., Laing Gahr reported that the winds were dying down and crews were optimistic.

UPDATE: 5:32 p.m.

The BC Wildfire Service reports a wildfire burning north of Predator Ridge is four hectares in size.

"There are eight fire crew on the ground and six air tankers fighting the fire," said Kelsey Winter, fire information officer.

"This is still a rank 2 and 3 fire and it is vigorous. There have been some trees involved. We are dropping retardant around the fire and that is looking good."

Winter said skimmers, which pick up buckets of water from Okanagan Lake, would be working on the fire for some time.

North Okanagan Emergency Management advises that Sunset Properties homeowners are on an evacuation alert.

UPDATE: 4:48 p.m.

Eleven water tankers have been sent by the BC Wildfire Service to help fight a wildfire burning just north of Predator Ridge, along Kokanee Road, according to Kelsey Winter, fire information officer.

"It is really wind driven right now. We're seeing wind speeds up to 50 kilometres an hour," Winter said.

The fire is currently 4.5 hectares in size.

Winter said eight personnel were on the ground and a helicopter was pouring buckets of water on the fire. Water bombers can also be seen dropping fire retardant on the hillside.

She said there were no evacuations from the area at this time.

UPDATE: 4:32 p.m.

Air support has arrived to help ground crews at the scene of a wildfire near Predator Ridge, reports Fire Chief Keith Green of Vernon Fire Rescue.

Up to three water bombers can be seen circling the fire, according to one eye witness.

ORGINAL STORY: 3:35 p.m.

Vernon Fire Rescue crews are responding to a fire in the Commonage area, south of Vernon, towards Predator Ridge.

Smoke can be seen rising from that area.

A fire official said the call came in around 3:20 p.m.

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