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UPDATE: Eagle Bluff wildfire now estimated at 280 hectares in size

The Eagle Bluff wildfire, burning north of Oliver, is estimated to be 250 hectares in size. An evacuation alert is in place and temperatures in the area are expected to reach around 33 C on Tuesday.

UPDATE: BC Wildfire Service says the Eagle Bluff wildfire is now at 280 hectares after more accurate mapping was done Tuesday morning.

The fire is happening in challenging terrain, akin to the being-held Richter Mountain wildfire burning along Highway 3, south of Cawston.

“Resources are continually challenged by the steep and rocky terrain in the area,” BC Wildfire Service said of the Eagle Bluff blaze, “and site safety is a priority.”

The evacuation alert, issued Monday by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, covers 206 properties.

Earle Robertson
Mike Beaulieu
Mike Beaulieu
Carla Roger
Klaudia Deschenes
Klaudia Deschenes
Paul Ongaro
Paul Ongaro

WATCH BELOW: Extended interview with BC Wildfire regarding the Eagle Bluff wildfire

Eagle Bluff wildfire: Extended interview with BC Wildfire Service
Eagle Bluff wildfire: Extended interview with BC Wildfire Service
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ORIGINAL STORY:

The Eagle Bluff wildfire burning north of Oliver, B.C., was estimated to be 250 hectares in size as of Tuesday morning.

That size is expected to grow, according to BC Wildfire, owing to more detailed mapping and overnight fire activity.

Earl and Cindy Woodland
Earl and Cindy Woodland
Earl and Cindy Woodland
Earl and Cindy Woodland
Earl and Cindy Woodland

READ MORE: UPDATED: Eagle Bluff wildfire prompts evacuation alerts, air quality statement

“We saw minimum growth [Monday] night with the inversion,” said Scott Rennick, deputy incident commander with BC Wildfire Service, “and less fire behavior when it was dark.

“We had fixed-wing aircraft and retardant and skimmers working the wildfire, and eight helicopters, two of which have started working today.”

Officials are still investigating how the blaze, which sparked to life on Sunday, started. One hundred personnel were on scene Monday, with 20 staying overnight.

Rennick said more personnel were en route Tuesday.

An evacuation alert is in place. For more on the alert, click here.

WATCH BELOW (Aired Aug. 5, 2019): Evacuation alert in place for Eagle Bluff fire

Evacuation alert in place for Eagle Bluff fire
Evacuation alert in place for Eagle Bluff fire

“We’re only in the first 36 hours; this is still an emerging incident,” Rennick said of the possibility of the evacuation alert being upgraded to an evacuation order.

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“We’re working it hard at this point in time. If it does come to that time, we do see an increase in [fire] behavior and activity and it hits certain trigger points, then we will make that [evacuation order] recommendation [to the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen].

“But at this time, we’re still monitoring and working the fire at this point.”

WATCH BELOW (Aired Aug. 5, 2019): Skimmers on Vaseux Lake helping fight Eagle Bluff fire

Skimmers on Vaseux Lake helping fight Eagle Bluff fire
Skimmers on Vaseux Lake helping fight Eagle Bluff fire

An air quality advisory has been issued for the South Okanagan for the next 24 to 48 hours. The advisory includes the communities of Penticton, Summerland, Naramata, Oliver and Osoyoos, plus Keremeos in the Similkameen region.

Environment Canada says “wildfire smoke is a natural part of the environment but it is important to be mindful that exposure to smoke may affect your health.

“People with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, pregnant women and infants, children, and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure.”

WATCH BELOW (Aired Aug. 5, 2019): Fire devastates Alberta fish farm

Fire devastates Alberta fish farm
Fire devastates Alberta fish farm

The provincial air quality health index for the South Okanagan is currently at a two, or low health risk, rating. It is expected to rise to three later Tuesday and Wednesday, which is still in the low health risk category.

For more on the air quality health index, click here.

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According to FortisBC, the wildfire was in proximity to its Vaseux Lake substation, but there was no impact to its customers, structures or infrastructure.

Further, at the request of BC Wildfire Service, Fortis said it “de-energized three transmission lines between Oliver and Penticton, but were able to maintain service to all our customers from the other lines.”

Fortis said the transmission lines were re-energized later in the evening.

 

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