No homes were lost overnight in the Westside road fire in West Kelowna, but the flames came very close.
Fire information officer Melissa Klassen says crews fighting the flames were helped by the road itself, which acted like a fire break.
“Yesterday the fire was burning right up to the side of the road, so the same sort of behaviour that we saw. Fortunately for us any activity that happened along that road only furthers reinforces the natural barrier of the road, so again, metres within homes.”
Klassen says 70 properties remain under an evacuation order but it doesn’t look they will be allowed home anytime soon.
“As of right now due to the fact we don’t have any containment on this fire. The fact that we have seen aggressive fire behaviour with this fire. We are going to really have to make some progress before the risk is descreased to the living in the area.”
Right now it is 430-hectares in size and still burning out of control.
However Wildfire branch incident commander Glen Burgess says firefighters are slowly gaining the upper hand.
“Yeah absolutely we are making progess. More resources showed up yesterday. So we have three times the number of crews we had out here the day before. We are pushing some bulldozer lines in. We are burning out fuel. So yes we are definitely making progress and our priority at this point is along Westside road protecting the homes.”
The Premier says while the wildfire budget is totally blown she is not concerned about mounting costs pushing the province into a deficit.
Christy Clark says there is a lot of time left in the wildfire season.
“More people livlihoods threatened. More forest resources lost. That is my number one concern is the fact that the fires are so threatening for the province. The money is kind of an indicator of that. We are at 163-million-dollars today over a 60-million-dollar budget. We could be at 300 to 400-million by the end of the season if this keeps up.”
Clark also says current fines are too lenient for people who are found to have caused wildfires.
BC’s Forest minister says the Martin Mars water bomber while called back into service recently is not currently fighting wildfires in the province.
“No it is not currently in use. It is under a contractual obligation to another company currently. It could be available if we needed but again we leave that up to the professionals to make the decisions as to whhen to utilize that resource or not.”
Thomson says it is the firefighters on the ground that are really responsible for knocking fires down.