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UPDATE: 80-hectare wildfire remains out-of-control west of Osoyoos, one property on alert

Richter Creek wildfire near Osoyoos still out-of-control
WATCH: Out-of-control wildfire burning west of Osoyoos

UPDATE: 7:40 P.M.

The Richter Creek wildfire has exploded into an aggressive surface wildfire and is estimated to be about 80 hectares and growing, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.

The suspected human-caused blaze is burning beside Highway 3, west of Osoyoos, and has climbed to the top of nearby slopes.

Richter Creek wildfire, west of Osoyoos on Highway 3, May 13.
Richter Creek wildfire, west of Osoyoos on Highway 3, May 13. Courtesy: BC Wildfire Service/ Global Okanagan
Fire west of Osoyoos, May 13, 2019.
Fire west of Osoyoos, May 13, 2019. Courtesy: Nathan Harper/ Global Okanagan

Air tankers were brought to the fire earlier in the day but were sent back to base due to heavy smoke in the area, according to information officer Hannah Swift.

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Ground crews will be assisted by helicopters until nightfall, she said, and more crews have been called in to assist the current 28 on site.

READ MORE: At least 4 dead after float planes collide mid-air off Alaskan coast

At least three firefighters will stay at the fire overnight, possibly more, Swift said.

Highway 3 traffic has not been impacted by the blaze and RCMP are monitoring the situation, according to Swift.

The Richter Creek wildfire remains out-of-control.

UPDATE: 6:30 P.M. 

One property, 25451 Highway 3 in Cawston, has been placed on evacuation alert due to the Richter Creek wildfire.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) issued the notice to the property owner at 6 p.m. on Monday.

May 13th evacuation alert map for Richter Creek wildfire.
May 13th evacuation alert map for Richter Creek wildfire. RDOS / Global Okanagan

Only the one property is currently impacted by the wildfire and residents there should be ready to leave at a moments notice, if required, according to the RDOS.

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ORIGINAL STORY:

The BC Wildfire Service has been called to the south Okanagan, where a new wildfire has broken out near Osoyoos.

The fire is burning about 12 kilometres west of the lakeside community near Highway 3, and was about 15 hectares in size Monday afternoon, according to the service.

READ MORE: ‘It’s way too early’: Officials, residents scramble as B.C. wildfires spread sooner than expected

No structures were immediately threatened by the fire, but the smoke was visible from both the highway and from Osoyoos, the wildfire service said.

WATCH: Wildfire season sparks early in B.C.

Wildfire season sparks early in B.C.
Wildfire season sparks early in B.C.

The fire is classified as “out of control,” and officials describe it as an aggressive surface fire which is moving quickly.

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The fire is suspected to be human-caused.

The BC Wildfire Service said it has 28 personnel on site, and two helicopters have been deployed.

DriveBC said the fire was not causing any impacts to traffic on the highway.

The Osoyoos Fire Department also quickly tackled a small grass fire on Strawberry Creek Road Monday afternoon.

The Osoyoos fire department responded to a second grass fire on Strawberry Creek Road Monday afternoon.
The Osoyoos fire department responded to a second grass fire on Strawberry Creek Road Monday afternoon. Twitter\Monica Reddemann

The BC Wildfire Service also had 18 firefighters in the Kamloops area Monday, where the 19-hectare Buse Creek wildfire broke out on Sunday.

A passing CN Rail train is being investigated as a possible cause of that fire.

READ MORE: CN train investigated as potential cause of Kamloops-area wildfire

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Jenna Ormondy, incident commander for the fire, said at one point the flames made it within 100 metres of a home.

“The winds were definitely in our favour yesterday,” she said.

“So the fire was moving east away from the home which definitely helped with our efforts.”

The Lejac wildfire.
The Lejac wildfire. BC Wildfire Service

Crews battling the 236-hectare Lejac wildfire near Fraser Lake also made progress overnight, with the fire now 50 per cent contained and 70 per cent guarded on Monday.

A local state of emergency and evacuation order for that fire were lifted, but some residents in the area remained under an evacuation alert.

About 40 firefighters and a helicopter have been deployed to try and extinguish it.

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The fire comes with nearly half of the province under a “high” or “extreme” fire danger rating.

The northwest, south coast and central B.C., along with patches of the southeast are currently facing the highest risk.