‘Good progress’ made on out of control fire east of Mabel Lake: BC Wildfire Service

Click to play video: 'Wildfire near Mabel Lake puts cabins on alert'
Wildfire near Mabel Lake puts cabins on alert
WATCH: As almost 300 wildfire continue to burn across the province BC Wildfire Service is having to prioritize its responses. On the east side of Mabel Lake dozens of seasonal properties are on evacuation alert and some are hoping more resources will be assigned to the out-of-control blaze burning upslope. – Jul 19, 2021

BC Wildfire Service said crews made “really good progress” Sunday on the Bunting Road Wildfire that’s burning out of control east of Mabel Lake in B.C.’s North Okanagan.

The 600 ha. blaze has put 66 seasonal properties along Mable Lake Forest Service Road on evacuation alert, meaning they should be ready to leave on short notice.

Click to play video: 'Fast-growing wildfire burning on hillside near Oliver and Osoyoos'
Fast-growing wildfire burning on hillside near Oliver and Osoyoos

On Monday, seven firefighters worked with industry staff to reinforce guards on the west flank of the fire.

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The west flank is the edge of the fire nearest to properties and recreation sites along Mabel Lake.

“Crews were able to make good progress on the fire [Sunday], constructing guard on the north and south ends of the west flank, widening existing roadways, and working on small hot spots in a plantation east of the fire,” the wildfire service said an online fire update.

The blaze is burning upslope from the lakeside cabins and the regional district said the mapped fire perimeter is at least a kilometer and a half from the nearest cottage.

Mark Trenke has a cabin just outside of the alert area.

“It’s extremely uncomfortable. Fires are extremely dangerous and can travel very quickly if the winds pick up. We are hoping that support is there and on its way to help fight this and keep all the cabin owners and people safe, Trenke said.

“There hasn’t been a lot of equipment… there has been little air support too: one chopper dropping water where they can. I’m assuming they are battling multiple fires in the area, but if we could have the planes or more choppers and get some control on it…. but there are just so many fires in BC too it is probably a challenge.”

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BC Wildfire Service said with the large number of blazes burning in the province it’s prioritizing where it sends resources, but the organization defended its response to the Bunting Road Wildfire.

“[Sunday] we did have air support on it. Although, BC Wildfire Service personnel were not on-site industry personnel were on-site and they are working hard on this fire as well,” said Fire Information Officer Taylor MacDonald.

“There are people that are working on this fire. They are trained to be able to do that.”

On Sunday morning BC Wildfire Service said one helicopter, heavy equipment, and “industry personnel” were responding to the blaze.

However, by Sunday evening, BC Wildfire said seven firefighters were on-site and seven firefighters remained assigned to the fire Monday.

Details of the evacuation alert are available on the regional district website.

The Bunting Road Wildfire is considered a wildfire of note. BC Wildfire Service posts updates here.

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