Crews plan aggressive attack on Canadian wildfires

Other News Materials 20 July 2009 23:31 (UTC +04:00)

Calm overnight winds aided Canadian firefighters on Monday as they struggled to control forest fires that have displaced thousands of people in British Columbia, Reuters reported.

There was no significant growth in two fires that have forced evacuations near the city of Kelowna, according to the British Columbia Forest Service. A third fire was not burning near populated areas.

"Winds were calm overnight, and crews are hoping to aggressively attack the fires," Fire Information Officer Elise Riedlinger said.

About 17,000 people in the District of West Kelowna, along the shores of Okanagan Lake, have been evacuated or told to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice because of the fires, which flared up on Saturday.

Property damage has been reported to be limited, although crews were still surveying the fire areas. Three homes are known to have been destroyed, but a major sawmill that was threatened has been saved from damage.

Kelowna, in the Okanagan Valley of south-central British Columbia, is about a 250-mile (400 km) drive east of Vancouver. It is the heart of Canada's West Coast wine industry and a popular vacation spot.

The Glenrosa fire was 988 acres (400 hectares) in size, but was about 40 percent contained. The Rose Valley Dam fire, which broke out a few kilometers to the north was listed at 370.5 acres.

Aircraft were still surveying the size of a third fire that jumped to 2,099 acres on Sunday. It did not threaten any populated areas, but was adding to smoke problems.