B.C. Wildfire Service to fight wildfire near Osoyoos with fire

The B.C. Wildfire Service will be fighting a Southern Interior wildfire with fire on Wednesday afternoon.

The out-of-control Richter Creek fire is estimated at 400 hectares and is burning approximately 13 kilometres west of Osoyoos, along Highway 3.

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On Wednesday, the B.C. Wildfire Service announced that it was going to implement a planned burn.

“Weather conditions permitting, a 160-hectare planned ignition will be implemented on the north and west flanks of the fire in order to burn out existing fuels and bring the fire perimeter down to safer workable terrain for ground crews. Helicopters and air tankers will be on site to support this operation.”

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On Tuesday morning, the fire was originally tabbed at 250 hectares, but wound up growing another 150 hecatres later in the day.

The fire, which sparked to life on Monday, is believed to be human caused, with police pointing to a motorhome towing an SUV as the cause. Police said there were signs the SUV’s brakes were locked and dragging, “which led to the belief something hot from the friction ignited the grass.”

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Also, B.C. Wildfire Service noted that heavy equipment and personnel worked overnight to construct guards to support the planned ignitions this afternoon.

“The fire at this point in time on the west flank is quite high up on some steep and inoperable ground,” said Scott Rennick, deputy incident commander with B.C. Wildfire Service.

“So with the containment lines completed, and with support by fixed-wing retardant and rotary-wing bucket ships, we’re going to do a controlled ignition today, and bring the fire down from the steep, inoperable areas to where we can actually suppress it, where the hoselay is being established.”

On Tuesday, the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen issued an evacuation alert for 14 properties in Cawston along Sumac Road and Highway 3.

One of those properties under alert is Liber Farm and Winery.

The farm owner said they were placed on emergency alert late Tuesday afternoon. The farm owner, who noted overnight rain helped quell the smoke, said they are packed up and ready to go, should it come to that.

Though it may be under evacuation alert, the farm and winery is still open for business.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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