Stay away from the Mount Law wildfire.
That was the message from Central Okanagan Emergency Operations (CORE) on Saturday regarding the 976-hectare blaze that’s burning alongside Highway 97C and not far from West Kelowna.
According to CORE, despite issuing statements asking people to steer clear of the wildfire, some people are willfully ignoring the directive.
“Crews on the ground have noticed that some members of the public continue to enter the wildfire area for recreational purposes such as hiking and using off-road vehicles,” said Jason Brolund, fire chief for West Kelowna Fire Rescue.
“For the safety of the public and fire crews, we want to remind the community that there is an area restriction order in place and they should not be entering the fire area for recreation purposes.”
A detailed description of the area restriction order is available on the BC Wildfire website.
The area restriction order prevents access to public land, including for recreation activity (such as hiking, biking, ATVs), but does not apply to private or residential properties.
According to CORE, the Mount Law fire has seen no significant growth in the last 24 hours.
The BC Wildfire Service says additional crews from Mexico arrived on Friday, and that skimmer planes were planning to conduct a practice water drop on Saturday afternoon.
“The additional crews will be on the fire line today to assist with suppression efforts,” said CORE.
“With the additional crew members and the skimmer aircrafts visible to the public, please note that this increased activity is not the result of increased fire activity.”
CORE said with air activity over Okanagan Lake, boaters are being asked to stay clear of the area.
“While the work is a planned operation for training purposes, it will also aid in suppression efforts,” CORE said.
On Saturday afternoon, CORE announced that an evacuation order for 4713 MacKinnon Road has been rescinded and downgraded to an evacuation alert because of favourable weather conditions and firefighting efforts.
It also said that the evacuation order for 3250 Highway 97, and that all evacuation alerts remain in place.
“Returning residents are reminded that they may encounter various hazards on private properties as a result of the forest fire,” said CORE.
“Crews continue fire suppression in the area, and residents should stay out of the way of emergency vehicles and crews.”