The Richter Creek fire burning west of Osoyoos has grow, and is now approximately 400 hectares in size.
According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, the fire is considered out of control. Earlier in the day, it had been estimated at 250 hectares. Crews are on site and are being assisted by helicopters. They will reportedly remain on site overnight.
In related news, the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen has issued an evacuation alert for 13 properties in Cawston. The affected properties are along Sumac Road and Highway 3.
For more on the evacuation alert, click here.
WATCH BELOW: Rob Osiowy of the B.C. Wildfire Service says the Richter Creek wildfire is a “high priority” for fire crews.
Officials with the B.C. Wildfire Service said they believe that the large Richter Creek wildfire burning west of Osoyoos near Highway 3 was sparked by a vehicle.
RCMP said police were dispatched around 11:45 a.m. Monday because a motorhome that was towing an SUV appeared to have sparked a grass fire.
Police said there were signs the SUV’s brakes were locked and dragging, “which led to the belief something hot from the friction ignited the grass,” however the incident remains under investigation.
On Tuesday morning, the blaze was still considered out-of-control and estimated to be 250 hectares, up from an estimate of 80 hectares Monday evening.
The wildfire service said the grass fire grew Monday evening, and with the smoke dying down, it was also able to get a better estimate of the size of the blaze.
On Monday evening, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen placed property on Highway 3 on evacuation alert, meaning residents should be ready to leave on short notice.
The wildfire service has a ground crew of 40 fighting the fire Tuesday morning, and more supports are headed to the area.
Two helicopters are also working to extinguish the blaze on Tuesday.
Officials say rain and cooler temperatures in the forecast should help the firefighting effort.
The Osoyoos Fire Department was not called out to the wildfire as the blaze is outside its jurisdiction.
However, Parks Canada said the area where the Richter Creek wildfire is burning is within the site proposed for a controversial national park reserve.
Project manager Sarah Boyle said that if the park is established, it would have its own fire response team.
“We would have that added capacity within the area,” said Boyle.
DriveBC is not noting any traffic problems on Highway 3 as a result of the fire.
– with files from Shelby Thom