Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Okanagan Ablaze again

The parallels to 2003 are growing more and more similar with each passing hour, as what started out as one blaze to the west of Kelowna on Saturday afternoon, had grown to three separate fires blazing through the tinder dry forests west of the city by night fall.

Water bombers, helicopters and fire department ground forces both forestry and municipal began to work the fire scene through the day, as flames whipped by Northwesterly winds quickly consumed large tracts of land.

By evening, nine homes had been reported to have been consumed by flames, tens of thousands of residents had been moved to evacuation centres and evacuation alerts had been issued to other residents surrounding the Glenrosa area of suburban Kelowna, the fire had jumped the closed Highway 97 and had begun to proceed to the east and towards Okanagan Lake. At midnight, the fire had been estimated to have grown to 300 hectares.

Some of Kelowna's radio stations have increased their on air coverage through the night, broadcasting live updates on the growing situation and taking calls from those who have been affected by the quickly changing situation. Listen here to Astral Media's 1150 AM,

For many residents today's events were a stark reminder of the days of August of 2003 when a similar fire around the Kelowna area, forced many residents from their homes and consumed a number of homes in the suburban areas.

With more hot weather on the horizon for Sunday, little chance of any precipitation and the winds expected to pick up again, officials will be working to stem the progress of the fires before they encroach further into residential, commercial and industrial areas. As night fell on the Okanagan, none of the three fires burning were listed as contained as ground crerws continued to work the fire scenes overnight, while residents watch and wait to see what develops in the morning.

You can keep track of the developments and view many of the photos being posted of the fires, from the following sites.

Photos above from Vancouver Sun and

No comments: