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White Rock Lake wildfire in B.C.’s Southern Interior prompts more evacuation orders, alerts

Click to play video: 'Aggressive growth on White Rock Lake fire prompts new evacuations' Aggressive growth on White Rock Lake fire prompts new evacuations
WATCH: Growth on the White Rock Lake Fire in the North Okanagan has prompted a flurry of new evacuations. Once mainly a threat to communities on the Highway 97 corridor, it has now forced residents as far southeast as Okanagan Lake out of their homes. Megan Turcato has more on how smoke is impacting the fire fight – Aug 2, 2021

The massive White Rock Lake wildfire burning in B.C.’s Southern Interior is burning aggressively to the south, prompting new evacuation orders and alerts spanning five jurisdictions on Sunday.

The wildfire, first discovered on July 13, is burning approximately 34 kilometres northwest of Vernon, B.C.

Click to play video: 'BC Wildfire Service update on White Rock Lake Fire for August 2' BC Wildfire Service update on White Rock Lake Fire for August 2
BC Wildfire Service update on White Rock Lake Fire for August 2 – Aug 2, 2021

“Conditions on-site continue to be extremely smoky, which is hampering the ability for aircraft to fly and is challenging suppression efforts,” The BC Wildfire Service said in a community bulletin.

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Read more: B.C.’s 2021 wildfires have now burned more than half a million hectares

“Variable amounts of precipitation were seen on the perimeter of the fire yesterday, August 1.”

The northern areas on the fire in the Westwold area received up to 10 mm of rain, which was enough to provide a reprieve from fire behaviour over the next 24-48 hours, officials said.

The dark red area shows the perimeter of the wildfire, while the red-shaded area is the evacuation order zone, and the orange-shaded area is the evacuation alert zone. Courtesy: BC Wildfire Service

The southern part of the fire received minimal precipitation. Temperatures are expected to remain in the mid-20s with gusty winds.

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

“In the south, fire behaviour continues to be quite active,” the fire service said.

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“Crews are continuing to work towards safe, achievable operational objectives under extremely adverse conditions.”

Read more: 40 flights cancelled at Kelowna International Airport due to a B.C. wildfire no-fly zone

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) has implemented an evacuation order for 85 properties and an alert for an additional 576 properties due to the wildfire.

The Columbia-Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) has evacuation orders and evacuation alerts in place.

Afternoon fire behaviour on Jimmy Lake area of the White Rock Creek Wildfire on July 26, 2021. Courtesy: BC Wildfire Service

The alert includes the southwest corner of CSRD Electoral Area D, including the communities of Falkland and Sweetsbridge, and all properties along ChaseFalkland Road to Joyce Lake.

On August 1, the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) partially upgraded the evacuation alert area to an evacuation order for 49 properties in the Electoral Area B, above Westside Road, north of the Central Okanagan Regional District boundary, west of the Okanagan Indian Band IR #1 and south and west of Six Mile Creek Road.

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Click to play video: 'Wildfire near Westwold, B.C., grows to 12,500 hectares; Quebec firefighters deployed' Wildfire near Westwold, B.C., grows to 12,500 hectares; Quebec firefighters deployed
Wildfire near Westwold, B.C., grows to 12,500 hectares; Quebec firefighters deployed – Jul 26, 2021

The evacuation order for 20 properties and alert for 23 properties remains in effect.

On Sunday, the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) partially upgraded the evacuation alert to an evacuation order for areas below the Whiteman Creek drainage, south of the Mud Hole, including Parker Cove and Whiteman subdivision.

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

The existing alert for the remainder of OKIB IR#1 Reserve up to Newport Beach, including but not limited to Newport Beach, Old Mill site, Komasket Part Area, 6 Mile, Parkers Cove, and Whiteman’s Creek, is still in place.

Residents in the 6 Mile Creek Road area using heavy equipment to construct their own fireguard on Monday, August 2, 2021. Megan Turcato/Global News

The alert issued on July 31 for properties in the Regional District of the Central Okanagan (RDCO) was raised to an evacuation order.

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Click to play video: 'Westwold residents want more wildfire resources' Westwold residents want more wildfire resources
Westwold residents want more wildfire resources – Jul 23, 2021

In addition, a state of local emergency has been issued for the RDCO along North Westside Road resulting in an evacuation order for all properties in Westshore Estates.

There are 245 active wildfires burning in B.C., including 78 in the Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes the Okanagan region.

Province-wide, 63 evacuation orders have been issued, impacting 4,186 properties, as of Sunday. An additional 21,131 properties are under alert.

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