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Eastgate community near Princeton, B.C., evacuated, travel advisory issued for Highway 3

An evacuation order been issued by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) due to immediate danger to life safety caused by the Garrison Lake wildfire in Electoral Area H. Courtesy: BC Wildfire Service/RDOS

Residents in the small recreational community of Eastgate, southwest of Princeton in B.C.’s Southern Interior, were forced to flee their homes on Saturday night due to a wildfire.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen issued the evacuation order for more than 100 properties on Saturday evening due to the Garrison Lake wildfire in electoral area H.

RCMP and search and rescue expedited notifications to clear people from the area.

The full list of impacted properties can be found on the RDOS website.

Read more: B.C. Wildfire update Saturday: More evacuations amid new heat wave

The evacuation order does not include the Manning Park Resort and area campgrounds, the RDOS said.

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They include properties along Highway 3, Garret Road, Bonnevier Road, Thistle Road, Rivers End, Towers Road, Airstrip Road, Lupine Road and Garrett Circle.

All evacuees are asked to register online with the Emergency Support Services (ESS) Evacuee Registration & Assistance (ERA) tool even if you do not require referrals such as housing or other services: ess.gov.bc.ca

Read more: Wildfire smoke: Air quality index for Okanagan maxes out at 10-plus, again

Due to a shortage of hotel accommodations, people displaced are urged to stay with family and friends.

The BC Wildfire Service recommended the community of Eastgate, near Princeton, B.C., be evacuated on Saturday, July 31, 2021. Courtesy: Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

Those who require services can visit the ESS Reception Centre at Chilliwack Secondary School.

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The Eastgate community contains approximately 100 cabins and is located alongside the Similkameen River and EC Manning Provincial Park, approximately 55 kilometres southwest of Princeton.

Read more: B.C. wildfire map 2021: Location and size of the fires burning around the province

According to the BC Wildfire Service, the nearby Garrison Lake wildfire, first discovered on July 23, has grown to 8,175 hectares in size.

Fire officials report significant growth over the past 24 hours and aerial resources and ground personnel are involved in the firefight.

“Heavy smoke in the area has resulted in visibility issues for aircraft, and aggressive fire behaviour is occurring on-site due to heavy winds,” a Saturday update said.

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“BC Parks has been notified about this fire as it has moved slightly into Manning Park.”

B.C.’s transportation ministry has issued a travel advisory along Highway 3 between Manning Park and Princeton due to limited visibility caused by wildfire smoke.

The road is open to traffic but motorists should drive with caution between Manning Park Resort and Frontage Road for 64 kilometres, the advisory stated. 

Another 30-hectare wildfire, called the Fat Dog Creek wildfire, is also burning in Manning Park.

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