OLIVER – Increased fire activity is expected on the Testalinden Creek wildfire over the next few days due to extremely dry conditions and gusty southerly winds, according to the BC Wildfire Service.
The fire is now estimated at over 3100 hectares (7660.27 acres) in size and has been growing in a northerly direction. It crossed containment lines previously established on the north side of Testalinden Creek due to the cold front and winds which came through on August 20. The fire has spilled over onto the steep south slopes of Hester Creek, however the fire perimeter remains 50 percent contained. The north and west flanks continue to be the most active and are therefore top priorities for fire crews.
Over 160 firefighters, 12 helicopters and 20 pieces of heavy equipment are working hard to enhance fireguards and protect the community. Experts are continually assessing the best methods for firefighting in this terrain and that could include further burning out of forest fuels within and adjacent to the Hester Creek drainage in the coming days. Prior to this occurring, additional information will be provided as smoke and open flame could be visible to the community.
Weather forecasts are predicting southerly winds which could result in further fire growth. These winds will likely also push smoke into the valley from large fires burning in Washington State. If this happens, air operations on the Testalinden Creek wildfires could be restricted for safety concerns.
An expanded Evacuation Alert remains in effect for residents in the Oliver area within the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. Visit www.rdos.ca for more information.
A restricted area closure also remains in effect over the Testalinden fire and for safety of all firefighters we ask the public to respect this closure and remain clear of the fire area. Visit www.bcwildfire.ca for more information.
The BC Wildfire Service would like to thank the public for their support and for respecting the open burning restrictions and campfire ban which remains in effect. The continued support from the Town of Oliver and stakeholders is appreciated.
Editor’s Note: While fires burn from Tonasket south, much of the smoke seen in the Oroville area earlier this week has come from fires burning in the southern Okanagan of BC, including the fires near Oliver and Rock Creek.
More information on the wildfires burning across the border can be found here: http://bcwildfire.ca/index.htm.