A large plume of smoke rose from the Mt. Eneas fire today, after B.C. WIldfire caused a burn to join it with the Munro Lake fire.

BC Wildfire merges two Okanagan wildfires

Large plume of smoke seen over the fire was a controlled event

Glen Burgess, incident commander for the Okanagan Complex of wildfires, says he can understand why people were nervous watching a new big plume of smoke rise from the Mount Eneas fire today.

But it was all part of a plan, he explained to a group of media this afternoon. BC Wildfire intentionally increased the size of the Mount Eneas fire, forcing it to join with the nearby Munro Forest Service Road Wildfire wildfire.

“The plume of smoke can be unnerving,” said Burgess, explaining that it was a choice between doing it themselves, under their own terms, or waiting for it to happen uncontrollably when an inevitable wind blew the fire up.

“The objective was to remove that fuel at our time when the weather was co-operating,” said Burgess.

Related: UPDATED: Mount Eneas fire grows to 1,374 hectares

Crews used helicopters to drop ping pong size balls — plastic spherical devices, Burgess called them — loaded with a small amount of chemicals that would ignite, causing new fires.

Prior to the drop, aerial tankers laid out lines of retardant to contain the fire.

“The plan was to remove the fuel between two fires,” Burgess said. He explained that ground crews could have done the work, but that would have put lives at risk unnecessarily.

“Things have gone well and we didn’t have anything go unexpectedly,” said Burgess.

“One of the reasons we wanted to do this today, is we haven’t moved into the hotter dryer weather that was predicted.”

The burn added about 150 hectares to the fire.

“The growth we saw today was a planned event,” said Burgess. “We will be in a much better position. The fire will be behind containment lines where we can work on it.

The good news, Burgess explained, is that winds aren’t expected to accompany the warming weather.

“At this point, our weather people are telling us we won’t be seeing the winds we saw a few days ago,” he said.

Related: Okanagan Wildfires: An afternoon update on wildfires and evacuations

The Mt. Eneas wildfire is still considered out of control and the Central Okanagan Regional District say evacuation alerts will remain in effect overnight for 698 properties in the vicinity of the 1,400-hectare Mt. Eneas fire and the 150-hectare Munro Forest Service Road Wildfire.

In the Central Okanagan, the following addresses remain on evacuation alert: 7100 – 7210 Brent Rd.; 7212 – 7280 Highway 97 South; Finlay Creek Cabins.

All alerts and orders remain rescinded for the Goode’s Creek Wildfire south of Kelowna and the Law Creek Wildfire south of West Kelowna. BC Wildfire says no significant growth had occurred on either of these fires by mid-Sunday afternoon.

Related: Wildfires still keeping residents from their homes


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Just Posted

Terrace Search and Rescue teaches water safety and wilderness skills at Furlong Bay

Partnering with Lakelse Watershed Stewards Society, public is encouraged to be cautious outdoors

Terrace’s Aquatic Centre hosts first Float and Show event

Approximately 100 attendees came out to watch Finding Nemo on their floaties

New fire response vehicle for New Hazelton

RDKS will pass the keys for the new water tender Aug. 23

Volunteer gathers supplies, donations for Terrace homeless

“We need to start doing something before it’s too late,” says Miriam McKay

As population ages, City of Terrace brings back healthy lifestyle program for seniors

The Choose to Move program will offer coaching and peer support

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Most Read