May 31, 2019 9:01 pm
Updated: June 1, 2019 2:24 am

Penticton wildfire dangerous sign of ‘substantial drought’ conditions in region: BC Wildfire Service

Penticton resident Suzette Johnson took video of the air tankers dropping retardant on the fire on Carmi Mountain on Friday evening.


UPDATE: 11 p.m. Friday

The Carmi Mountain fire is officially being held at 3 hectares.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen’s Emergency Management team shared that information on social media.

A wildfire crew will remain at the fire overnight after performing backburns to create containment lines.

The fire came within 200 metres of homes in the area, according to Hogan Glousher, B.C. Wildfire Service operation chief.

Glousher said the fire was spreading quickly when his crew arrived on the scene.

“For this time of year, we’re seeing some pretty substantial drought as of now. It has been dry and we’re seeing that warming trend so fire behaviour initially was very intense,” Glousher said.

READ MORE: B.C. Wildfire Service setting up precautionary 150-person camp in northern B.C.

He praises the Penticton Fire Department for their help fighting the blaze.

“I feel like that was a big win there,” Glousher said of Penticton’s firefighters arriving at the fire first.

While the Carmi Mountain fire is not contained, Glousher said they will monitor the area overnight and do not expect it to grow further.

UPDATE: 8 p.m. Friday

A wildfire on Carmi Mountain east of downtown Penticton has become more manageable and the Penticton Fire Department has left it in the hands of the B.C. Wildfire Service.

“There is very little threat left,” Mark Woods, general manager of community services for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS), said.

The RDOS did not issue any evacuation alerts or orders for the Carmi Mt. fire, but RCMP did issue a tactical alert to 11 homes on Saliken Rd., according to the RDOS, which has now been rescinded.

While the fire was outside of the Penticton city fire district, the fire department deployed because there were strong winds in the area and it was moving uphill, said Penticton fire chief Larry Watkinson.

The fire is boxed in, according to Watkinson, but still technically considered out of control.

7 p.m. update

A 2.5 hectare wildfire burning east of downtown Penticton is suspected to be human caused, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.

The Penticton Fire Department said the fire is burning on Saliken Rd.. on Carmi Mt.

Crews are supporting B.C. Wildfire Service aerial and ground efforts to douse the flames.

There are 10 wildfire personnel on the ground working to contain the blaze, B.C. Wildfire Spokesperson Taylor MacDonald said.

“No structures are threatened at this time,” MacDonald said.

Air tankers spread retardant guard-lines around the area and have “completed their objectives for the night,” she said.

Helicopters with water have not been called upon to assist, she added.

The fire is considered out of control and the exact cause of the blaze is under investigation.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has not issued any evacuation alerts or orders.


Penticton firefighters and members of the B.C. Wildfire Service are working on dousing a blaze burning in the forest south of Carmi Ave.

Residents took to social media to alert each other about what they’re saying looks to be a fast moving blaze.

“There was just fork lightning. Maybe that’s what started it,” resident Samantha Lynn posted on Facebook.

READ MORE: Residents douse truck fire while B.C. Wildfire Service allegedly stands by

There are reports of planes laying retardant in the area between the blaze and homes, which look to be close to the area that is burning.

“Bird dog circling and I can hear the bombers taking off,” Dawna Erland said.

Global News has reached out to the B.C. Wildfire Service for more information.



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