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White Rock Lake wildfire near Westwold spreads to 20,000 hectares

Click to play video: 'White Rock Lake wildfire balloons to 20,000 hectares near Westwold' White Rock Lake wildfire balloons to 20,000 hectares near Westwold
White Rock Lake wildfire balloons to 20,000 hectares near Westwold – Jul 28, 2021

The wildfire near Westwold is now an estimated 20,000 hectares, nearly double the 12,000 hectares reported on Monday.

“There has been substantial growth on the east perimeter and the north,” said Hannah Swift, a fire information officer.

“The fire currently has two heads: one in the northeast and one in the southeast. And what we are seeing is pretty extreme behaviour. It’s not safe for our crews to get out ahead of the fire.”

The extreme fire behaviour is being attributed to large amounts of wildfire fuel, heavy smoke hampering air attacks and extreme weather conditions including heat and wind.

“The BC Wildfire Service is conducting planned ignitions along the east flank of the White Rock Lake wildfire. Given the terrain and fire behaviour in this area, planned ignitions are the most effective tactic to aid containment along this flank,” wrote B.C. Wildfire staff, in an update.

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According to the wildfire service, 115 firefighters are working the blaze, with 100 of them being from Quebec.

Read more: B.C. wildfire Wednesday: Officials eye ‘mixed bag’ in weather forecast

Global News talked to some nearby residents to gauge their concern level with the wildfire.

“Well, I’ve been in a lot of fires here and (we see) no flames yet. So, I’m just ready, got all my stuff ready,” said Ross Scott, a Falkland resident.

“If it’s time to go, I’ll pack up and get out of here.”

“I’m probably a six out of 10. A lot of people are pretty nervous, there are a lot of new people that moved here that aren’t used to it. Some of us have been here longer, so we’re getting used to it a bit, but you never actually get used to it. It’s a wildfire,” said Greg Murray, a Monte Lake resident.

Read more: As temperatures rise in B.C.’s Southern Interior, health agency issues heat reminder, safety tips  

There are widespread evacuation orders and alerts for the surrounding area.

“Within the TNRD, we have 576 active evacuation alerts and 85 evacuation orders due to the wildfire,” said Michelle Nordstrom, Thompson-Nicola Regional District’s communication manager.

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The fire borders on two other regional districts as well.

The Columbia-Shuswap Regional District has an evacuation order for 10 properties and the Regional District of North Okanagan has an order for 20 properties.

More on evacuation alerts can be found here.

Click to play video: 'Experts urge caution as extreme heat warning issued for B.C.' Experts urge caution as extreme heat warning issued for B.C.
Experts urge caution as extreme heat warning issued for B.C – Jul 28, 2021

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