The fast-growing Nk’Mip Creek wildfire that’s burning in the South Okanagan has exploded to 2,000 hectares in size, up from 1,100 hectares in the morning.
Situated just six kilometres north of Osoyoos, the out-of-control blaze — formerly known as the Inkaneep Creek fire — was discovered on Monday afternoon, and by 7 p.m., it was listed at 700 hectares.
Not only has the wildfire produced exceptional smoky skies, but also just under 200 properties within the Osoyoos Indian Band have been issued evacuation orders, and a state of local emergency has been declared for Electoral Area C.
The state of emergency was issued on Monday by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS), which says it did so because of the potential threat to life and property.
The regional district says the state of local emergency will remain in force for seven days, until July 26 at midnight, unless it revokes the state of emergency or the province.
In addition, an evacuation alert has been issued for Electoral Area C, approximately 20 properties within the town of Oliver and 21 properties on the Osoyoos Indian Band.
A list of addresses on evacuation alert is available on the RDOS website.
On Tuesday, the RDOS issued a new evacuation order for about 300 properties in Electoral Area A, which covers Anarchist Mountain, “due to immediate danger to life safety.”
Oliver mayor Martin Johansen reiterated that as of Tuesday morning that only a couple portions of Oliver are under evacuation alert, and not the entire town.
He said at first, the evacuation alert included a lot of properties, but that the alert’s borders have been changed.
“It was very chaotic in what was going on last night, as they were trying to determine what area to set as an order, what area to set as an alert,” said Johansen.
“That’s what they came out with eventually, those (20) properties at this point.”
Johansen also told Global News that at this point in time, the current evacuation orders are all on OIB land and (Electoral) Area C.
He said nothing has changed, though the wind is up and the fire appears to be moving south.
He added that emergency support services is open at the Legion branch on Main Street.
Asked if he anticipates more evacuation alerts or orders, Johansen said “who knows?”
“Are we anticipating any more? We haven’t heard,” he said. “Be prepared.”
According to the BC Wildfire Service, search and rescue crews assisted the RCMP in conducting tactical evacuations on Monday night for those at immediate risk.
BC Wildfire said 12 firefighters and five helicopters were battling the blaze, adding that air tankers dropped retardant on the fire’s west flank.
Also, boaters and pleasure craft operators are asked to avoid Osoyoos Lake to allow aircrews to conduct operations safely.
Also Tuesday, the Town of Osoyoos declared a state of emergency in response to the Nk’Mip Creek wildfire while also issuing an evacuation alert.
The evacuation alert is for the 7600 block of Cottonwood Drive and the 7800 block of Cottonwood Drive.
To view Osoyoos’ state of emergency, visit this webpage.
To view Osoyoos’ evacuation alert, visit this webpage.
More as this continues.