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Hand ignitions planned for Mount Law wildfire near West Kelowna

A section of forest that was scorched by the Mount Law wildfire. Global News

Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of new smoke rising from the Mount Law wildfire near West Kelowna.

On Wednesday, the BC Wildfire Service announced that crews will be conducting planned ignitions along Highway 97C in the southwest corner of the fire.

“These ignitions will be commencing after 11 a.m., and will be highly visible and will be conducted outside of the road corridor,” said BC Wildfire, noting that one westbound lane of the highway will remain closed to traffic for the safety of crews and motorists.

Read more: Fatigued B.C. firefighters get help back at camp as marathon wildfire season takes its toll

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations says the planned ignitions will take place both on the Drought Creek and Law Creek vicinity of the fire, which will be visible along the Highway 97C corridor.

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Motorists are being asked to follow the directions of highway and emergency workers, and to drive to the road conditions.

The fire is estimated at 800 hectares, as it has been shortly after sparking to life on Aug. 15, and is still classified as out of control.

“The Mount Law Wildfire remains active and West Kelowna and Peachland Fire Rescue crews are working alongside BC Wildfire to continue to support fire suppression efforts,” said Jason Brolund, fire chief for West Kelowna Fire Rescue.

“These controlled ignitions are helpful and required to strengthen control lines.  BC Wildfire will be letting the wildfire burn down to established guards so it can be put out there by fire crews.”

Click to play video: 'Evacuated B.C. couple returns home, controlled ignitions to start at Mount Law wildfire' Evacuated B.C. couple returns home, controlled ignitions to start at Mount Law wildfire
Evacuated B.C. couple returns home, controlled ignitions to start at Mount Law wildfire – Aug 21, 2021

According to BC Wildfire, even though there have been cold temperatures, high humidity and some precipitation lately, the fire has slowly spread downslope in the south towards a fireguard above Highway 97C.

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Read more: Some evacuation orders downgraded as Mount Law wildfire threat eases

“While the threat has eased through much of the fire with mild weather conditions, it is still uncontained in areas and crews are working for containment during this period of mild weather,” said BC Wildfire.

Resources fighting the blaze include 85 firefighters, 23 pieces of heavy equipment, seven helicopters and 34 support staff.

The following properties remain on evacuation order:

  • 4713 MacKinnon Rd.
  • 3250 Highway 97

The fire is believed to be human-caused and is under investigation.

Click to play video: 'B.C. Wildfire Service official says progress being made, have not had significant growth in fire activity' B.C. Wildfire Service official says progress being made, have not had significant growth in fire activity
B.C. Wildfire Service official says progress being made, have not had significant growth in fire activity – Aug 24, 2021

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