Washington State fire burns into BC

A massive wildfire sending smoke and ash up into the Okanagan has crossed into Canada.

Wildfire information officer Justine Hunse says the Diamond Creek fire started south of the border.

"That fire did indeed originate in Washington State. It was first discovered on the 3rd of July, and started approximately 10 km south of the USA/Canadian border," she said.

"Since that first week of the fire, the BC Wildfire Service has been in regular communication with firefighting officials in the States."

She says provincial crews sent in helicopters on Wednesday to get a closer look.

"We did have a helicopter fly the area to inspect the extent to which that fire has spread, and we have estimated the fire on Canadian soil to be 1700 hectares in size," she said.

"There's currently no structures or communities immediately threatened by the fire. The fire is burning in a backcountry area that is approximately 70 km west of Osoyoos."

The latest estimates from US officials put the total size of the fire at roughly 19,800 hectares.

It was first reported back on July 23, and is believed to be human caused.

Meanwhile, the wildfire smoke that's taken over Kelowna this week could possibly start thinning out today.

That's according to Environment Canada Meterologist Cindy Yu, who says wind blowing from down south will start to change its direction.

"Heading into the afternoon hours, we will be seeing a wind pattern change, so the upper level jet stream will be coming from the West," she said.

"Now will that channel the smoke into the region? It's hard to say. But I think the wind pattern change perhaps may increase not the visibility necessarily, but the appearance of the sky a little bit."

She says another factor this weekend will be the hot temperatures.

"We are expecting a ridge of high pressure to rebuild across the province again. It does look like it will be a warm one - some of the forecast temperatures we're looking at for Sunday, perhaps even Monday and Tuesday are pretty impressive for September. So with the ridge, we're thinking perhaps we will see a few more of the daily temperature records being broken."

Yu says another factor is that when the winds come out of the West, they split into different jet streams around the Peachland area, which is a phenomenon known as the Trepanier split.

One stream hits Kelowna from the south, while Penticton will get the other stream coming in from the north.