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White Rock Lake Fire Sunday Update: Gusting winds, increased fire activity expected

Click to play video: 'A look at the White Rock Lake wildfire from the Vernon area' A look at the White Rock Lake wildfire from the Vernon area
Extended video taken on Sunday showing the White Rock Lake wildfire burning across the lake from the Tronson area. – Aug 15, 2021

The BC Wildfire Service said the out-of-control White Rock Lake wildfire burning west of Vernon did not see any major growth overnight heading into Sunday, but gusting winds and increased fire activity are expected later in the day.

The BC Wildfire Service said it is preparing for strong winds hitting up to 60 km/h from the south to southwest.

“Heavy equipment, ground crews, and helicopters are strategically positioned to priority areas on the fire that are expected to be the most challenging along the north, northeast, and east flanks,” it said in a website update.

Read more: B.C. warns winds will fan fire risk in Interior

Fire officials are expecting the flames to be active north of Naswhito Creek, which is near Westside Road, throughout the rest of the weekend.

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“The fire has not crossed any control lines north of Highway 97 in the Monte Lake/Paxton Valley area or along the northeast flank all the way south past the major powerline corridor near Ingram,” BC Wildfire Service said.

The blaze is now estimated at 62,273 hectares, which is approximately 40 square kilometres larger than on Saturday.

Read more: Smoky conditions to continue in B.C.’s Southern Interior

Fire officials said the increase in size is along the south flank, north of the Fintry protected area.

At its closest point, the fire is approximately 3.5 km northwest of Fintry Provincial Park.

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Nearly 200 wildland firefighters are tackling the fire, including 22 who remained on-site throughout the night.

Read more: Wildfire season: Vehicle cabin air filters pushed to the limit amid smoky skies

BC Wildfire Service said 143 structure protection personnel, 16 helicopters, 15 danger tree assessors and 45 pieces of heavy equipment are assigned to the blaze.

Thousands of people remain out of their home because of the blaze: in the Regional District of Central Okanagan alone, approximately 1,900 properties remain under an evacuation order.

Click to play video: 'Public safety minister tells tourists to avoid travel to areas of B.C. Interior due to fire danger' Public safety minister tells tourists to avoid travel to areas of B.C. Interior due to fire danger
Public safety minister tells tourists to avoid travel to areas of B.C. Interior due to fire danger – Aug 13, 2021
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