FortisBC says none of its electrical equipment is responsible for igniting the Eagle Bluff fire burning between Okanagan Falls and Oliver.
The utility company has high-voltage lines and a substation within the fire zone that was measured at 280 hectares as of Tuesday morning, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service, which lists the cause of the blaze as under investigation.
“I can confirm that none of our structures or infrastructure were involved in starting the fire. Furthermore, there was no impact to our customers, structures or infrastructure,” FortisBC spokesman Jas Baweja said in a statement.
“At the request of B.C. Wildfire Service, we de-energized three transmission lines between Oliver and Penticton and were able to maintain service to all customers from other lines.”
The lines have since been re-energized, and FortisBC hopes the incident will serve as a reminder to people to be prepared for power outages in the event of natural disasters.
Meanwhile, the B.C. Wildfire Service has now assigned an incident management team to look after the Eagle Bluff fire in order to free up crews to respond to any new fires.
The service has 100 personnel on site today, along with eight helicopters, air tankers, water tenders and structure-protection units.
“Resources are continually challenged by the steep and rocky terrain in the area and site safety is a priority,” the service noted on its website.
An evacuation alert remains in place for 42 land parcels in the area that comprises 206 properties, many of them campsites at Gallagher Lake.
Affected properties are on Highway 97, McIntyre Creek Road, Brauns Road, Sundial Road, Gallagher Lake Road, Enterprise Way, James Way and Manuels Canyon Road.
— Penticton Herald