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Blue Mountain wildfire in South Okanagan estimated at 54 hectares

Click to play video: 'Fire sparks 15 kilometres north of Keremeos Creek wildfire'
Fire sparks 15 kilometres north of Keremeos Creek wildfire
The fire season is not over yet in the Okanagan. Crews rushed to a blaze in the south Friday afternoon, one not too far from the Keremeos Creek wildfire. As Victoria Femia reports, the cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but it's "suspected" to be human-caused. – Sep 3, 2022

A wildfire in B.C.’s South Okanagan has grown to an estimated 54 hectares after sparking to life on Friday afternoon.

Suspected to be person-caused, the Blue Mountain fire is around seven to eight kilometres west of Penticton, and around 13 km south of Summerland. It’s also around 15 km north of the Keremeos Creek wildfire.

Not long after it was first spotted, the blaze was sized at 10 hectares, though the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) noted it was exhibiting aggressive Rank 4 behaviour, including candling.

Read more: Fire officials in B.C. keeping their eyes on concerning new wildfires

BC Wildfire said 16 firefighters, two helicopters and heavy equipment are battling the out-of-control blaze.

“We did have personnel on it overnight as well,” fire information officer Shaelee Stearns told Global News on Saturday morning.

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“Yesterday, we did see some aggressive fire behaviour that we see in the hotter time of the day, but it definitely quieted down into the evening, and we were seeing Rank 2 into the evening, around 9 p.m.”

The province ranks fires on a 1 to 6 scale, with 1 being a smouldering ground fire and 6 being “a blow-up or conflagration” that could include possible fireballs.

Click to play video: '3 more wildfires spark near Lumby, B.C. neighbourhood'
3 more wildfires spark near Lumby, B.C. neighbourhood

Stearns added the fire “was very wind-driven.”

“Yesterday in the Okanagan, we saw some strong winds in the area, which also influenced the Keremeos Creek fire and the activity we saw there as well,” she said.

“So the fire behaviour and the growth that we saw had a lot to do with that.”

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The Penticton Indian Band issued an evacuation alert on Friday night for the Shingle Creek area because of the fire.

Click to play video: 'Unauthorized drones shut down fire operations'
Unauthorized drones shut down fire operations

Regarding the Keremeos Creek wildfire, which is estimated at 7,042 hectares, it’s still classified as being held, and it’s not expected to breach its current boundaries.

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Thirty-nine firefighters are on scene, along with water tenders and two helicopters.

Stearns said Friday’s winds allowed the fire to burn some of the unburned fuels that were still available.

“But we are seeing a downturn in weather going forward, so there will be cooler temperatures, more humidity throughout the evening,” said Stearns.

However, Stearns added there’s still the potential for strong winds throughout the region, “so there is still a chance you’ll see smoke coming from that fire.”

Click to play video: 'Decreased fire trend predicted for September: BC Wildfire Service'
Decreased fire trend predicted for September: BC Wildfire Service

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