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Eagle Bluff fire near Osoyoos could take months to get under control, says Regional District

No homes lost in the 7,000 hectare out of control Eagle Bluff wildfire near Osoyoos
Water tenders staging at Kilpoola Estates on August 3 for the Eagle bluff wildfire. (Chad Jensen photo)

No homes have been lost on the B.C. side of the Eagle Bluff fire and that’s a testament to the hard work of local firefighters and B.C. Wildfire, said Mayor Sue McKortoff at the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board meeting.

“The fire came so close to the Dividend Ridge homes but thanks to all the tactical teams they did a phenomenal job,” she added.

As of Sunday morning, the out of control wildfire is 7,060 hectares in size.

There are currently 113 firefighters and eight operational field staff responding. Operations are currently running 24 hours. There are 38 structure protection personnel.

“This is a huge fire. This will takes weeks if not months of active firefighting to get this under control,” said RDOS CAO Bill Newell.

A lot of the work of firesmarting, including getting rid of loose debris, removing and clearing vegetation from near the home also saved homes from burning, said RDOS director Adrienne Fedgrigo.

Evacuation orders were complicated a bit by some home owners who chose to stay behind.

“When you choose to stay behind, it puts an emotional toll on firefighters,” said Osoyoos director Petra Veintimilla.

RDOS CAO Bill Newell said ignoring an order to get out distrupts firefighting actions.

“Firefighters need room to work, get hoses out and create staging areas,” said Newell.

The evacuation process was also challenged by campers who had set up behind the golf course.

“Flames were on all sides of the tents but everyone managed to get out with help from the RCMP,” said McKortoff.

In the Kilpoola area, Electoral Area “A”, residents are experiencing Telus service outages to their 911 landline, internet, home phone, and Optik/PIK TV due to infrastructure being damaged by the fire. However Telus mobility services are not affected. Crews are working to restore provider services.

Because of the smoke from the wildfire, Environment Canada continues to have a special air quality statement in effect for the entirety of the Okanagan. Elders, children, people with lung problems and/or heart disease, pregnant people and people who work outside are at a higher risk of experiencing effects from smoke.

On Friday, an evacuation order was rescinded for the Osoyoos Industrial Park within the Town of Osoyoos and remains on Evacuation alert. The evacuation alert is rescinded for remaining areas within the Town of Osoyoos.

There remains 132 properties on order in the RDOS and two in Osoyoos.

Parts of Electoral Areas “A” and “B” including the Kilpoola and Spotted Lake areas south of Highway 3.

READ MORE: Eagle Bluff fire jumps to over 7,000 hectares

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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