The B.C. Wildfire Service says additional measures are being taken to protect a major transmission line from a wildfire in the South Okanagan.
The line is the sole source of electricity to about 60,000 residents, including those who live in West Kelowna and Peachland.
According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, a high-volume water delivery system has been installed in response to the out-of-control Brenda Lake wildfire. A four-inch hose line supplies large sprinklers, which can be turned on quickly in the event of increased fire activity.
"This water line has been effective in assisting with protection of the transmission line," the B.C. Wildfire Service stated. "The transmission line remains operational."
The Brenda Creek wildfire is 662 hectares and has led to evacuation orders 43 properties in Electoral Area H.
Another major blaze at Nk'Mip Creek spread late this week and is now estimated at 6,800 hectares. Earlier this week, the Osoyoos Indian Band issued evacuation orders for a long list of properties and expanded this order on July 22.
Meanwhile, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has issued evacuation alerts for Electoral Areas A and C, as well as for areas within the Town of Oliver. In addition, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary has issued an evacuation order for 112 properties and an evacuation alert for 304 properties due to the Nk'Mip wildfire.
A third significant fire, dubbed the Lytton Creek wildfire, is now 24,365 hectares. This is the blaze that burned more than 90 percent of Lytton on June 30.
"Over the last two days the fire has seen significant growth moving northwards," the B.C. Wildfire Service stated on Friday (July 23) at 2:50 p.m.
Across B.C., there are more than 250 wildfires burning with the highest number, 95 in the Kamloops forest district. Since April 1, 376,436 hectares have burned across the province.
According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, there are 3,320 firefighters and other personnel battling the blazes, including 94 firefighters from outside of the province.
There are 57 evacuation orders in place affecting 4,923 properties. Another 76 evacuation alerts have been issued for 16,458 properties.
None of those orders or alerts is on Vancouver Island or along B.C.'s Central Coast, and only two alerts are in the Southwest region.
Troposphere link to fires
This year's intense wildfire activity has been linked to climate change.
A heat dome that descended over much of B.C. in late June and early July shattered Canadian temperature records, with several B.C. communities eclipsing the all-time high set in Saskatchewan in 1937.
This heat dome could have been linked to changes taking place in the jet stream as a result of higher summer temperatures in the Arctic. According to this theory, the lower differential between northern and southern temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere slows the jet stream, which is in the troposphere. And this leads to broader jet-stream loops, trapping heat in one location for extended periods.