Photo: Jon Manchester
UPDATE: 9:40 p.m.
The BC Wildfire Service will be monitoring the Becker Lake wildfire overnight, continuing suppression efforts for the 10 hectare blaze.
Updates on this fire will resume at 7 a.m.
UPDATE: 8:35 p.m.
Twenty-six BC Wildfire Service fire personnel are on scene fighting the Becker Lake wildfire, alongside four helicopters and air tanker support.
The fire is still classified as out of control and sits at 10 hectares. The fire appears to be burning less vigorously, but spreading through the hillside.
Fire information officer Taylor Shantz stressed that their aircraft had to be grounded due to a drone in the area earlier on Saturday.
“The aircraft was grounded due to the drone for two hours, which is never a good thing.”
Residents in the area saw flames pick up when aircraft left the area.
BCWS put out a reminder on Saturday afternoon for drones to stay out of the sky.
“If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft, the consequences could be deadly. Anyone caught operating a drone that interferes with fire control could be fined up to $100,000, or jailed for up to one year, or both,” their post read.
Photo: Crystal White
UPDATE: 7:24 p.m.
The Becker Lake wildfire is still being actioned by BC Wildfire Service, with aircraft tackling the flames from above.
The size still remains at five hectares, according to fire information officer Taylor Shantz.
Pictures submitted into Castanet continue to show smoke billowing in the area, with aircraft dumping water and fire retardant along the mountainside.
UPDATE: 6:25 p.m.
Aircraft have returned to the sky to aid fire suppression efforts at Becker Lake, which remains at five hectares according to BC Wildfire Service.
Fire information officer Taylor Shantz said the planes were grounded for two hours due to a drone flying through and are now back in the air.
“Aircrafts were temporarily delayed, due to a personal drone being used in the area,” she said.
Recent videos and pictures sent into Castanet have residents saying it looks like fire activity is increasing in the area, with flames spreading through the forest and up the mountainside. BCWS did not have an update on fire activity in the area.
UPDATE: 5:22 p.m.
BC Wildfire Service put out a reminder for drones to stay out of the sky, as their fire suppression efforts at Becker Lake have now been halted due to one flying nearby.
“There has been a drone observed in the vicinity of the Becker Lake (K41727) wildfire. This compromises suppression efforts and halts air operations. This type of activity is extremely dangerous and poses a significant safety risk to personnel, especially when low-flying firefighting aircraft are present,” their post reads.
“If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft, the consequences could be deadly. Anyone caught operating a drone that interferes with fire control could be fined up to $100,000, or jailed for up to one year, or both.”
Previously two helicopters and air support were tackling the fire. Castanet’s Jon Manchester was on the scene earlier and saw the aircraft leave the area.
The fire does appear to have lessened in smoke and fire activity thanks to the firefighting efforts.
UPDATE: 5:12 p.m.
The blaze near Becker Lake appears to have died down, as the wind subsides in the area and the smoke looks to have lessened.
Castanet’s Jon Manchester is on the scene near the fire and can see fire retardant lines on all four sides of the fire.
All air support has since stopped in the area, reportedly due to a drone flying through. Castanet has placed a call into BC Wildfire Service to confirm.
UPDATE: 4:03 p.m.
The Becker Lake wildfire is currently out of control and estimated at five hectares, according to BC Wildfire Service.
Crews are on site with two helicopters and air support, with local departments assisting BCWS firefighters battling the blaze.
Castanet’s Jon Manchester is on scene near the fire, and has seen the Coldstream Fire Department stationed at top of Ravine Drive. Choppers are reportedly filling at Becker Lake.
UPDATE: 3:05 p.m.
The lower flank of the Becker Lake wildfire appears to be calming down a bit Saturday afternoon, as a water bomber and a fire retardant air tanker continue to hit the blaze.
Castanet’s Jon Manchester says the fire appears to be slowly moving in the northeast direction, away from homes.
While a helicopter was bucketing the fire earlier, it appears the air tanker and water bomber are now doing most of the work on the fire.
The planes appear to be focusing their efforts on the south flank of the fire, likely to build a guard for homes in Coldstream’s Uplands neighbourhood.
UPDATE: 2:10 p.m.
An air tanker and a bird dog are now on scene at the Becker Lake wildfire Saturday, to provide additional air support in the fire fight.
The fire appears to be growing rapidly on Vernon Mountain, just below Becker Lake.
The BC Swan Lake Fire Department and the RCMP have closed Pottery Road at Bodwell Road, but the BC Wildfire Service says no evacuation alerts or orders have been put in place for the area yet.
UPDATE: 1:55 p.m.
The new wildfire on Vernon Mountain is burning about 500 metres above a number of homes Saturday afternoon, and it appears to be rapidly growing.
A consistent breeze is blowing in the area, and a helicopter is bucketing the blaze. The helicopter pilot has requested additional air support from air tankers.
In a recent Twitter post, BC Wildfire Service says the Becker Lake wildfire is currently estimated to be one hectare in size, and burning out of control, but firefighters communicating on the fire scanner say it’s already grown to five hectares, and it’s showing Rank 3 and 4 behaviour.
Four BCWS firefighters and two helicopters are en route to the blaze, along with air tankers.
No homes are believed to be located above the fire, but people are reportedly camping at Becker Lake, above the fire. No evacuation alerts or orders are in place at this time.
ORIGINAL: 1:20 p.m.
While Friday night’s wildfire is still smouldering south of Vernon, a new fire has started to the east of the city.
Photos from the scene show heavy smoke among the trees above Highway 6.
A witness says a helicopter is already dropping water on the fire, but she’s seen trees candling.
Castanet has a reporter heading to the scene, and this story will be updated as more information becomes available.