One of the most destructive wildfires to hit the Okanagan is no longer considered a “Wildfire of Note.”
Saturday, the BC Wildfire Service removed the Wildfire of Note tag from the McDougall Creek fire on its online wildfire map, after the fire was considered “held” last Wednesday.
A fire is considered a Wildfire of Note if it is "especially visible or poses a threat to public safety."
The McDougall Creek wildfire was sparked in the hills above West Kelowna on Aug. 15. A small plume of smoke was barely visible from downtown Kelowna that afternoon, when it was less than a hectare in size. But strong winds from a passing cold front two days later caused the fire to grow rapidly.
In less than 48 hours, the fire had torn through a number of West Kelowna neighbourhoods, destroying homes on close to 200 properties and forcing the evacuation of roughly 10,000 properties.
While the strong winds had largely passed by Aug. 19, the fire continued to burn, causing many smoky days in the Okanagan. Fire crews have worked tirelessly for nearly six weeks to fully extinguish the blaze, which grew to a size of 13,970 hectares.
Last week, the BC Wildfire Service declared the fire as held, which means it's “not likely to spread beyond predetermined boundaries.” Additionally, evacuation orders for all remaining homes were also lifted Thursday.
While the threat from the fire has largely passed, there remains 82 firefighters on the fire, working to extinguish hot spots and demobilize equipment.
Rain has been falling in the area over the past couple days, but the fire continues to burn.
“Nearby communities can still expect to see smoke within the perimeter over the coming weeks,” the BCWS says. “This is common with large wildfires and will continue until significant rainfall or snowfall.”
The BCWS still has not stated the cause of the destructive fire, and it's still listed as “under investigation.”
An area restriction remains in place for most of the fire area. A map of the restricted area can be found here. Additionally, Rose Valley, Raymer Bay, Stephens Coyote Ridge and Traders Cove regional parks remain closed due to hazards left by the fire.