Taking the fight to the fire

A member of the BCWS conducts a controlled burn on the Eagle Bluff fire.

Mother Nature has finally started to co-operate with those battling the Eagle Bluff wildfire.

Cooler weather and rain has reduced fire activity, leaving the area charred at approximately 2,600 hectares as of Sunday afternoon – unchanged from a day earlier – and also prompted the cancellation of all evacuation alerts

B.C. Wildfire Service spokeswoman Shannon Street said the fire is still moving away in a southeast direction away from communities, reducing the risk enough to take people off alert.

Street said the service is also planning to withdraw its structure-protection units and send home members of fire departments from around the region that were called to assist.

As of Sunday afternoon, there were 169 personnel on the ground, along with 19 pieces of heavy equipment, plus 15 helicopters in the sky.

But the fire, which was discovered a week ago about halfway between Oliver and Okanagan Falls east of Highway is still considered out of control. More controlled burns are planned for the northern flank of the fire in coming days if the weather co-operates.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The evacuation alerts covered 41 properties in the McKinney Creek area, plus another 42 land parcels that comprise 206 properties near Gallagher Lake. Also on the list was the Okanagan Correctional Centre, which transferred inmates out of the jail as a precaution.