Welcome back to “Life and Random Thinking,” I appreciate your visit.
In my previous post “On Alert” I shared the apprehension the whole city of Penticton was feeling as we faced the 70 kilometre winds blowing from the south on Friday. No one knew what to expect.
Friday was a blustery day, and the crews were working hard all day Thursday, overnight and on Friday hoping to contain the Christie Mountain Fire.
The fire was already 2000 hectares (10,000 square metres or 2.47 acres) Thursday night. Friday I rode my bike down to Skaha Lake, not far, and watched the Sikorsky helicopters hard at work. The fire was so close to the lake, the Sikorsky’s were like bees buzzing back and from the lake to the nearby fire. I was able to the Sikorsky’s close up, and from underneath. A hose and snorkel to pump water hangs below the huge helicopter; this hose fills the hold – up to 9,500 litres of water (or fire retardant).
Also smaller helicopters and air tankers were busy, I suspect all other air traffic at Penticton airport was cancelled.
At the beach the chopping of the heavy blades were right overhead, and I felt spray from the copter land on me as it flew overhead to its target. The wind was so heavy, sand was being blown off the beach and pelting my legs.
A day I won’t forget.
Saturday dawned, and I was anxious for an update. I felt relieved looking at Christie mountain not to see the heavy dark clouds of Tuesday, and the candling for trees as they burst into flame. Instead there is white smoke, and a sense of relief.
On Friday, here is the report I received.
The BC Wildfire Service said while wind gusts from the south did buffet the blaze, fire activity did not significantly increase.
On Saturday afternoon, BC Wildfire estimated the fire’s size to be at 2,035 hectares.
Further, BC Wildfire said approximately one millimeter of rain fell on the fire Friday.
“We were very fortunate yesterday with the wind event,” said Penticton fire chief Larry Watkinson. “Although it was quite vigorous, above Penticton and on the hillsides, it was very soft on the fire.
The factors that helped prevent the fire’s spread were:
The combined work of ground of air crews slowing the growth.
The fire was running into a former 1994 fire, so not as much forest fuel was available, which helped taking the “steam” out of it.
We didn’t see a lot of expansion. A lot of work was done to keep areas wet, and that crews didn’t see any ignitions from ember transplants or ash-fly, or “any real damage to structures at all.
This post isn’t cooperating at all, WordPress is using a new editor, and I am having a hard time here. Arrgh ! 🙂
I will try to add some photos I took yesterday. – David