Out-of-control wildfire burning near Peachland, B.C., prompts ...


British Columbia

The Glen Lake Fire quadrupled in size on Sunday, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service, and is believed to be human-caused.

Out-of-control wildfire burning near Peachland, B.C., prompts ... - Figure 1
Photo CBC.ca
Gusty winds have also kicked up fires in the Sunshine Coast, Cariboo and Peace River regions

CBC News

· Posted: Sep 18, 2023 2:08 PM EDT | Last Updated: 2 hours ago

The Glen Lake wildfire, burning about 15 kilometres west of Peachland, B.C., is seen from an aircraft on Sunday. (X/B.C. Wildfire Service)

A wildfire burning near Peachland, B.C., quadrupled in size on Sunday, prompting an evacuation order for 15 properties.

Peachland Mayor Patrick Van Minsel said Monday that the town's fire department is assisting the B.C. Wildfire Service as crews attempt to control the Glen Lake Fire, which is burning about 15 kilometres west of Peachland.

"There's no reason to panic," he said, speaking to CBC's The Early Edition. "Our fire crew is on it. They developed some plans in case it comes a little bit closer, to protect structures."

According to B.C. Wildfire Service data, the Glen Lake Fire has grown to 4.5 square kilometres since it was first discovered on Saturday. 

The fire is believed to be human-caused and, despite the mayor's assurances, the B.C. Wildfire Service says the blaze is not responding to suppression efforts and poses a potential threat to public safety. 

Van Minsel said fire officials have a plan in place to protect the town's infrastructure.

"According to our fire chief, it's quite a long way from Peachland, and I'm very confident in our fire protection services — that they will get a handle on this," he said.

Peachland is a district municipality on the west side of Okanagan Lake and has a population of approximately 5,000 people. The forecast for the region indicates a chance of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Winds stir up fires in multiple regions

The Okanagan isn't the only B.C. region affected as gusty winds and unsettled weather helped kick up several wildfires over the weekend.

A total of four regional districts, from the Sunshine Coast to the Cariboo, central Okanagan and Peace River, issued or upgraded evacuation orders between Friday and Sunday.

Another three evacuation orders affect a total of 54 rural properties around the Horn Lake fire west of Williams Lake, the Clowhom Lake blaze northwest of Sechelt, and the Stoddart Creek fire north of Fort St. John.

As a gusty cold front swept through B.C. over the weekend, the Peace River Regional District upgraded orders and alerts on the northeast corner of the Stoddart Creek blaze, which has charred 295 square kilometres and has remained out of control since it was started, possibly by humans, in mid-May.

Evacuation alerts were also posted for blazes north and east of Pemberton, including for several properties at Spruce Lake in the South Chilcotin Mountain Park as the 93-square-kilometre Downton Lake blaze threatens the southern corner of the park known for its fishing and wild game viewing.

The wildfire service says the number of active blazes in B.C. remains above 400, with seven new fires started in the last 24 hours and 154 ranked as out of control.

With files from The Early Edition and The Canadian Press

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