B.C. Wildfires: Second evacuation order issued for popular B.C. Interior lodge
This has been a summer to forget for Cathedral Lakes Lodge.
Located in B.C’s Similkameen region and nestled on the shore of Quiniscoe Lake, the lodge is surrounded by trees and mountains and offers stunning views.
Also stunning: On Friday, the lodge was issued its second evacuation order of the summer. The nearby Cool Creek wildfire has grown extensively in the past week, prompting the evacuation order. The first evacuation order for Cathedral Lakes Lodge came during the Placer Mountain wildfire.
Asked if they were surprised by the second order, Cathedral Lakes Lodge spokesperson Glenda Patterson said no.
“I think all of British Columbia, the Interior, is prepared for anything at time at any fire,” she said. “We just go through the week and go ‘Gee, we made it through the week without a fire.’ No, we’re not surprised, but we are disappointed; everybody should be happy and hiking at the top.”
The Cool Creek wildfire is listed as burning out of control, having grown from 100 hectares on Thursday, August 16th, to its current size of 6,900 hectares. Located in what’s considered back-country region, the wildfire was mostly affecting only ranchers and cattle, until the Regional District of the Okanagan-Similkameen issued an evacuation order.
“Under a state of local emergency, pursuant to the Emergency Program Act, an evacuation order has been issued by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) due to immediate danger to life safety from the threat of wildfire, in the vicinity of Cathedral Provincial Park and the following properties in Electoral Area “G.”
Further, the RDOS said “The B.C. Wildfire Service has implemented an area restriction order for Crown land in the vicinity of the Cool Creek wildfire, to protect public safety and ensure the safety of firefighting personnel. This order will remain in place until noon on Sept. 15, 2018, or until it is rescinded.”
Regarding what the fire area is like, Patterson said “is ravines, rocky outcrops, like the Okanagan. Little crannies, hard to get into with firefighters or machines. So it is burning in spurts in that area. It’s more like the Snowy Mountain fire, sort of ranging around in a large area.”
The lodge has six cabins, six lodge rooms and can host 56 guests a day. Prior to fire season, Patterson said the lodge had been completely booked until Aug. 1st.
While the evacuation orders have hurt business, Patterson said there’s been an unexpected upside to the wildfires: “We’ve gained huge support.”
“We have support in the Okanagan in general, and we have a broad audience that comes up to our lodge; Vancouver and the Okanagan, in particular. People are very concerned and they have a much deeper and broader understanding of what fires means and the cancellations.”
Forging ahead, Patterson said the lodge is eyeing earlier openings and later closings, adding “September hiking is fantastic up here.”
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