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Joe Rich fire maintaining size

The wildfire near Kelowna is not growing due to favourable wind
Firefighters off of Hwy 33 put out smouldering patches of the Joe Rich wildfire east of Kelowna Saturday afternoon. - Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

The Joe Rich wildfire is not growing in size, thanks to favourable weather and little wind.

Emergency personnel battling the Joe Rich fire have taken local media on a tour into part of the fire zone.

The tour was delayed for a short time due to a flare up.

“Fire behaviour today has picked up dramatically from yesterday. Yesterday we had a maybe rank two fire and a little bit of rank three, which is candling. Today we’re seeing a considerable amount of rank three, open flame,” said Rob Krause of BC Wildfire Services.

“The fire is still gaining a little bit of ground. It’s certainly not growing as rabidly as it was two days ago (due to little wind),” said Krause.

He said the biggest concern is the northeast corner of the fire.

The fire is not getting closer to properties, but some are within a few hundred metres away from the fire, he said.

People are still unable to reach their homes, but some have been able to go into the evacuated area to get their animals. The blaze continues to burn at 465 hectares east of Kelowna and is at zero per cent containment.

Smoke could be seen billowing from the mountainside off of Hwy 33 as helicopters and ground crews worked to stifle the blaze.

Hwy 33 remains closed.