UPDATE: 9:38 p.m.
BC Wildfire Service said the crews successfully completed the planned ignitions on Friday for McDougall Creek wildfire.
Work went underway in the southwest corner, completing burns in the Shannon Heights and Paramount Drive area.
BCWS said plans for ignition in the northern portion of the fire were postponed as winds on-site in the afternoon would not have allowed operational field staff to achieve lower-intensity fire behaviour.
UPDATE: 4 p.m.
A number of other West Kelowna properties have been taken off evacuation order Friday.
Just before 4 p.m., Central Okanagan Emergency Operations rescinded the evacuation order for homes in the lower Tallus Ridge and Tuscany Drive areas, northwest of Shannon Lake.
Additionally, the evacuation alert for a number of homes on Campbell Place in Westbank First Nation IR#10, and in the Casa Loma area, has been lifted. These properties are south of Highway 97.
A full map of the current areas that remain under evacuation orders and alerts can be found below, or by clicking here.
UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.
Evacuation orders around the Central Okanagan continue to be lifted, with the latest coming from West Kelowna’s Rose Valley and Lenz Road areas.
Friday afternoon, Central Okanagan Emergency Operations rescinded the evacuation order for a number of homes that had been threatened by the south flank of the McDougall Creek wildfire.
The latest round of lifted evacuation orders means more Rose Valley residents, and those on Lenz Road, can now return home. These areas remain under an evacuation alert, meaning residents should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.
Additionally, the BC Wildfire Service has put an area restriction in place around the McDougall Creek fire, to ensure people don’t interfere with the continued fire suppression work. A map of the area restriction is below.
The area restriction order remains in place until Sept. 8 or until the order is rescinded.
UPDATE: 3:05 p.m.
Central Okanagan Emergency Operations says active firefighting efforts continue in the North Westside area as crews work to contain the McDougall Creek fire.
“Crews are working hard to strengthen control lines in the northern portion of the fire with BC Wildfire Service,” said Fire Chief Ross Kotscherofski, North Westside Fire Rescue.
“While we are making good progress, there is a lot of work to do to make this area safe. I also want to reassure residents that regular emergency services like first medical response and regular fire suppression continue to be available.”
BC Wildfire is planning an aerial ignition from the top of the Bald Range area south to roughly 11 km on the Bear Main.
Properties north of Terrace Mountain Road along Westside Road including La Casa up to and including Fintry Provincial Park remain on evacuation order “until further notice.”
Boaters are still asked to stay off the lake between the W.R. Bennett Bridge and Fintry Provincial Park to allow aerial fire support to fight the fire.
More updates are expected later Friday on potential downgrades of evacuation orders in some areas of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation.
ORIGINAL: 10:45 a.m.
More smoke is expected to be visible on the McDougall Creek wildfire Friday, as the BC Wildfire Service conducts several more controlled burns.
Fire crews successfully conducted a small-scale controlled burn northwest of the Shannon Lake Golf Course Thursday, sending smoke into the sky that could be seen from across the region.
The massive 12,318-hectare McDougall Creek wildfire burning west of Okanagan Lake continues to burn out of control, but fire crews have been making good progress on the blaze over the past week.
The BC Wildfire Service says crews will be once again conducting a five-hectare, hand ignition on the southwest corner of the fire Friday, in the Shannon Heights and Paramount Drive area. Another 16-hectare burn is expected to take place in a pocket of “green fuel” along the fire perimeter further away from the community.
To the north, a 130-hectare aerial ignition is planned in the Bald Range area, near Bear Lake Main Road.
“This ignition operation will be supported by ground crews, heavy equipment, and aerial resources working off of previously established machine guard along the northwest portion of the fire perimeter,” the BCWS says.
“The purpose of these planned ignition operations is to remove unburnt fuel in an intentional way to secure control lines. Based on current conditions this unburnt fuel has the potential to burn on its own in a significantly more active way.”
The fire service notes that controlled burns are a time-efficient method for getting rid of wildfire fuels.
“Planned ignitions are a very useful tactic in fire suppression and fire management and are often the safer and more efficient operational tactic,” the BCWS says.
“It allows us to bring the fire perimeter down to control lines and creates a more uniform and continuous fire edge which is easier for crews to use direct attack methods on and extinguish hot spots to strengthen control lines and achieve containment.”
Temperatures are expected to remain relatively cool on the fire today, with forecast highs of 22 C and relative humidity of 45-55%. The BCWS says there’s also a 70% chance of an isolated shower or thunderstorm in the area.
Hundreds of families in West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation returned home Thursday, but thousands of properties still remain under evacuation orders.