UPDATE: 9:40 a.m.
FortisBC confirms none of its infrastructure was involved in the start of the Eagle Bluff wildfire at Gallagher Lake, utility spokesperson Nicole Brown said in an email Tuesday morning.
"We did work closely all day and through the night with wildfire officials and take steps to protect our system. At the request of B.C. Wildfire Service, we de-energized three transmission lines between Oliver and Penticton and we’re able to maintain service to all customers from other lines."
Brown says the fire is in close proximity to the Fortis Vaseux Lake substation and, "as always, we monitored the situation closely. We also took steps to protect our system such as building fireguards around the transmission line."
"We appreciate the public’s concerns. We continually improve our system based on learnings from other jurisdictions and industry best practices. That’s just one of the reasons the routine work we do to clear our rights-of-way is concentrated in the most heavily treed areas each year."
Brown adds with drier weather and increased temperatures predicted over the week, it’s a good reminder for people to stay safe when protecting their property and to be prepared for potential service disruptions.
For tips and what to do with FortisBC services if evacuated, visit fortisbc.com/forestfires.
A witness says he saw two bright flashes the night the Eagle Bluff wildfire started near Gallagher Lake.
Kaleden resident Jason Bristow tells Castanet he was sitting in his hot tub between 11 p.m. and midnight Sunday when he saw two bright flashes from the area.
"(I was) watching the meteor shower, which was pretty active, and facing towards OK Falls. I remember seeing two bright flashes of what looked like sheet lightning; however there were no clouds in the sky," says Bristow.
"My guess was that a transformer exploded somewhere, and I didn’t think anything else of it. It would be great to know what the flashes were and if they caused the fire or were the result of something being ignited from the fire."
An official cause of the wildfire has not yet been given, but there is a FortisBC substation dangerously close to the blaze. Wildfire crews have been working to protect the infrastructure.
FortisBC has not issued any statements on the fire, and Castanet has reached out to the utility company for comment.
— Jon Machester, Castanet