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BC's Bear Creek fire contained

An aerial photo of the Bear Creek fire (courtesy B.C. Wildfire Management Branch)
An aerial photo of the Bear Creek fire (courtesy B.C. Wildfire Management Branch)

Jill Colton, staff writer

September 8, 2011 — Officials say the Bear Creek Park forest fire is now 100 per cent contained -- but flare ups are still expected.

Billowing smoke may linger.
Billowing smoke may linger.

The fire broke out Monday night on the west side of Okanagan Lake near Kelowna and charred 39 hectares, but officials are confident the situation has been extinguished.

“It is now 100 per cent contained,” said a relieved Noelle Kekula, a fire information officer at the Kamloops Fire Centre.

“After minimal fire behaviour and no growth overnight we were able to get the entire perimeter aligned with hose lay and we've got 50 feet in a wet line,” she adds.

Crews also managed to set up 100 feet in wet line around the landing where the homes were.

Approximately 40 firefighters were on the ground battling the flames. During the evening hours, roughly six crew members were on the lines patrolling for hot spots.

Water bombers were used to snuff the flames.
Water bombers were used to snuff the flames.

Officials say they may see the odd flare up and smoke -- but it's not a major concern due to the nature of the fire.

“We still expect flare ups within the fire but it's a rank one -- which means it's slow progressing.”

Ground control and air support played an important role in helping quell the flames, but weather was also a leading factor.

“We were expecting some wind gusts, but they never appeared, so this helped us out as well. It was a lot of everything that worked in our favour,” explains Kekula.

The local state of emergency and evacuation alert for 550 residents of Trader's Cove and the Bear Creek areas have been lifted, and Bear Creek Provincial park has reopened.

The cause of the fire is still not known, but investigators believe it was from human activity.

The B.C. government has called this summer the slowest fire season in a decade. The province has experienced about 500 wildfires to date. This time last year, nearly 1,500 were burning. Experts believe the combination of a cool, wet spring and fewer lightning storms is the reason.

The break in fire activity has allowed the province to help out others. B.C. sent roughly 2,000 firefighters to battle flames in Ontario and throughout parts of the United States.

Visit The Weather Network's Forest Fire Watch to stay up to date on current fire conditions.

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