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

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Central Saanich strawberry farmer reports bumper crop

Strawberry season could last well into October

GoodLife marathon helps enrich lives, share stories

Seniors’ care one of many causes supported by GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Oak Bay community invited to News’ 5th annual readers tea

Oak Bay News, Carlton House host Sept. 17 afternoon tea

Colwood square dancing open house to welcome in new dancers

“It’s therapy,” said long-time square dancer Linda Townsend

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Tragic bus crash, Pacific FC win and Terry Fox runs

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read