PENTICTON - Drones are helping map hot spots in a wildfire burning in British Columbia's Okanagan region, as cooler conditions help firefighters elsewhere bring blazes under control.
#BCWildfire is currently utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, on the Keremeos Creek wildfire (K50863). A company has been contracted to supply fireline maps showing hotspots along the perimeter using infrared technology.— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) August 10, 2022
Crews are making progress on several wildfires in the province, including a blaze near Lytton that broke out nearly a month ago and destroyed several properties.
But BC Wildfire Service information officer Mikhail Elsay told a news conference Wednesday that crews are still having a difficult fight with the 68-square-kilometre fire southwest of Penticton in the Okanagan.
"While we have been making good progress, this fire is still uncontained, and out of control at this time, especially on the western flanks."
Elsay said new drone technology is being used to scan the fire's edges to ensure flames have been put out. The drone was operated overnight and helped crews understand what hot spots should be targeted, he said.
"This thermal scan allows us to really nail down the final spots, especially the tricky, rocky, deep burning root systems. These drones are very sensitive, they can pick up even very small amounts of heat. So we'll be able to really confirm the work that we're doing out there."
The area where crews have made progress means that residents in about four dozen homes will be allowed to return.
However, more than 500 other homes, including the entire community of Olalla, remain under evacuation order.
Another 1,000 properties in the area are under an evacuation alert, which means residents have to be ready to leave on short notice.
Highway 3A, which cuts through the valley where crews have been trying to control the wildfire, remains closed.