By Lyonel Doherty
The Eagle Bluff fire is no longer an immediate threat to structures in rural Oliver, according to the BC Wildfire Service.
Officials report that cooler conditions continue to prevent fire growth today, although the blaze is still classified as out of control at 2,632 hectares.
A lot of the smoke has dissipated but it could be visible again due to another planned ignition or increase in fire activity.
Officials say the fire is still burning actively on the top, but any growth is now predominantly east and northeast.
“The fire is no longer of immediate threat to any structures,” says the BC Wildfire Service.
In fact, the regional district has rescinded all evacuation alerts in Area C and the McKinney Creek area.
Out-of-town structural protection units and fire department resources were demobilized off the fire on Sunday due to the decreased risk.
“Due to the movement of the fire away from the community and the reduced threat to structures or properties in the area, these resources are no longer required,” BC Wildfire says. “If the situation were to change, these resources could be called back at any time.”
On Monday morning, heavy equipment continues to construct a guard in operable areas. Preparation continues for a planned ignition on the northern flank in the coming days.
Approximately 160 firefighters are still working on the blaze with the help of 14 helicopters and 19 pieces of heavy equipment. An overnight team of 47 firefighters has been scheduled.
Fire Information Officer Shannon Street said the rain and cooler conditions on the weekend definitely made it easier on crews, who were faced some real challenges with last week’s heat and fire terrain. She noted that a peer support program is in place to deal with firefighter stress.
Street said the weather forecast is calling for southerly winds on Tuesday but moderate to cool temperatures. She noted that people could see some more fire activity and smoke this week, particularly during the planned ignition.
She pointed out that crews are mopping up and monitoring previously burned areas, such as the Gallagher Lake region, adding that no fire growth is expected there.
Street said BC Wildfire would like to thank local communities for their support during the fire. She noted that people have been dropping off cash at Tim Horton’s in Senkulmen Business Park to help feed the firefighters. In addition, Street said there has been some “great hospitality” from people who have been dropping off fresh fruit at the firefighting camp in Oliver.