It’s been a quiet few days on the McDougall Creek wildfire in West Kelowna.
The blaze that’s now over a month old has shown low fire activity this week, sitting at ranks 1 and 2 with some pockets showing a moderate rank.
While many evacuation orders were downgraded to alerts last week, there are still 77 properties on evacuation order and 4,882 properties on alert, as of Sept. 19.
As many people have been able to return home, residents are to continue to be aware of fire crews and heavy machinery working in the area.
“As several roadways in the vicinity of the McDougall Creek Wildfire have been reopened, please use caution when travelling and be aware of the presence of wildfire personnel, vehicles, and heavy equipment,” said BC Wildfire Service. “Other cautions and hazards to be wary of include elevated public presence, wildlife and road conditions.”
Also, despite being in the evacuation alert zone, Bear Creek Provincial Park is still off-limits to the public as fire crews are using it for their operations.
On Friday (Sept. 15) morning, the area restriction order was extended to Tuesday, Oct. 3, or until the order is rescinded. Anyone found in the area is subject to a $1,150 fine.
The McDougall Creek wildfire remains out of control, a wildfire of note, and 13,970.4 hectares in size. Many crews have left the scene to help the Glen Lake wildfire in Peachland that ignited on Saturday, Sept. 16.
BC Hydro has also been working in the area as it has restored power to nearly 90 per cent of customers, nearly 1,200 residents. The fire destroyed 426 power poles and BC Hydro has already replaced more than 400 of them.
On top of replacing poles and power lines, crews have worked with BC Wildfire Service in a clean-up effort to remove debris and vegetation from the impacted areas.
Customers affected by the fire who were on evacuation order for five days or longer will be eligible to receive a credit for the electricity consumed for the duration of the time they’re out of their home.
Transport Canada and the BCWS prohibit the use of drones of any size near a wildfire. The operation of any aircraft not associated with fire suppression activities within a radius of five nautical miles around a fire, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones), is illegal. Anyone found interfering with wildfire control efforts may face penalties of up to $100,000 and/or up to one year in jail