Monday’s enormous planned ignition for the White Rock Lake wildfire near Vernon, B.C., will continue to burn and create smoke for the next several days.
That’s according to the BC Wildfire Service, which said on Tuesday that the successful 3,000-hectare burn brought the out-of-control blaze down to established control lines in several key areas on the northeast flank.
“This has reduced the risk of further growth and impacts in the interface area, which is the area of the fire that poses a risk to structures,” the service said.
The massive burn created an eye-popping plume of smoke on Monday that could be seen from many kilometres away.
The fire, which was discovered on July 13, was estimated on Tuesday at 81,362 hectares, and has spawned several evacuation orders and alerts.
According to Central Okanagan Emergency Operations (CORE), there are 1,316 properties on evacuation order and 850 on evacuation alert.
“Securing these northeast perimeters allows the BC Wildfire Service to recommend to local authorities that their evacuation orders and alerts may be downgraded much sooner,” the service said.
“Containment may now be achieved in the next 7-10 days versus upwards of six weeks if the fire was left to naturally reach containment lines.”
In its daily update on Tuesday, CORE said crews are continuing to work on suppressing the fire, and also mentioned the planned ignition.
“Securing these northeast perimeters allows the BC Wildfire Service to recommend to local authorities when their evacuation orders and alerts may be downgraded,” said CORE.
BC Wildfire said crews and aerial resources will remain on-site to patrol containment lines.
As of Tuesday, there were 345 wildland firefighters on scene, along with 52 structure protection personnel, seven helicopters, five danger-tree fallers and 38 pieces of heavy equipment.