Update: Planned ignition for White Rock Lake wildfire

News

(as of 11:00 a.m.)

The City of Vernon continues to be in close and regular contact with the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) regarding progress on the White Rock Lake wildfire that is burning west of Okanagan Lake. The City is also monitoring weather and fire conditions daily.

As of today, BCWS estimates the White Rock Lake wildfire is 81,362 ha in size and continues to classify it as Out of Control.

Planned ignition in Irish Creek Rd area

As part of the firefighting efforts, BCWS has been working on logistics to conduct a large-scale planned ignition on the northeast flank of the fire (approximately 3,000 ha) in the Irish Creek Rd area. This type of work can only be done under strict site and weather conditions in order to maintain safety for fire crews and the public.

This morning, BCWS confirmed the appropriate conditions have been met and the planned ignition has begun. The burn will be low intensity with low tree mortality and is being used to achieve containment in areas where the fire perimeter is inoperable and unsafe for ground crews and heavy equipment to work.

In preparation for the planned ignition, BCWS and its partners have put several resources and safeguards in place, including the establishment of a large fuel free guard that was constructed over the last two weeks. Additional supports and resources for the ignition include:

  • Hose lays along the guards that the ignitions will occur from
  • 2 helicopters with PSD machines
  • 1 helicopter with heli-torch
  • 40 BCWS Type 1 firefighters to conduct hand ignitions
  • Structure protection task forces
  • 6 heavy helicopters for cooling support
  • 2 mobile retardant pits
  • Additional air support is available, as needed

More information about the planned ignition can be found on the BCWS Wildfires of Note page and in this video.

Wildfire smoke safety

Due to the planned ignition, residents in the North Okanagan region may experience the impacts of wildfire smoke.

The BC Centre for Disease Control has several recommendations on how to protect yourself from wildfire smoke including the following:

  • Use a portable HEPA air cleaner to filter the air in one area of your home
  • Visit public spaces such as community centres, libraries and shopping malls which tend to have cleaner, cooler indoor air
  • Take it easy on smoky days because the harder you breathe, the more smoke you inhale
  • Drink lots of water to help reduce inflammation

Further information can be found on the BCCDC’s website.

Evacuation Alert for Vernon

The level of risk for residences within the municipal boundary continues to be assessed. An Evacuation Alert remains in place for the following areas of Vernon:

  • Canadian Lakeview Estates
  • Adventure Bay
  • Tronson Road between 8125 and 9280

The City will continue to monitor and assess the situation and will provide further updates as they become available.

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