August 9, 2019 by THE CANADIAN PRESS
VANCOUVER – The British Columbia Wildfire Service says a fire in the province’s south Okanagan remains out of control but its direction offers a better chance for containment.
The blaze near the town of Oliver has charred nearly 23 square kilometres since it was discovered.
Although flames continue to spread to the south and southeast, a post on the wildfire service website says that means the fire is moving away from the cliffs and steep rocky slopes where it was sparked late Sunday.
Officials say the fire is edging into safer, more workable terrain for the 173 firefighters at the scene and should also allow for better use of heavy equipment and aircraft.
As flames move away from Oliver, the wildfire service says crews will continue to work to secure the flanks of the fire that are nearest to homes and power lines.
Evacuation alerts remain in effect for more than 250 properties, including the Okanagan Correctional Centre, but no homes or outbuildings have been lost.
A separate, 14-square kilometre blaze burning in the northwestern corner of B.C., on the shores of Tagish Lake has now forced an evacuation order for three properties as that fire remains out of control, more than a month after it was sparked by lightning.
Emergency Information BC says provincial authorities have also posted an evacuation alert for a wider area west of the community of Atlin, also in northwest B.C.
Fire danger ratings are listed as high in that area, while the wildfire service map shows the danger in B.C.’s southern Okanagan region has climbed to extreme, meaning new fires will start easily, spread rapidly and be challenging to contain and control.
Environment Canada is calling for a risk of lightning in the southern Okanagan on Saturday but is also forecasting slightly cooler temperatures and weekend showers across much of the parched region.