Keremeos Creek wildfire: Evacuation orders, alerts remain in place

FILE. BC Wildfire crews mopping up part of the Keremeos Creek wildfire that’s burning southwest of Penticton, B.C. BC Wildfire Service

Evacuation orders for the Keremeos Creek wildfire will remain in place for Saturday.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) says Apex Mountain Resort, a portion of Green Mountain Road and several homes at the top of Sheep Creek Road will remain on evacuation order.

“Structural protection equipment remains in place at Apex and residents are asked to stay out of all evacuation order areas,” the RDOS said on Saturday morning.

The regional district added that evacuation alerts remain in place for properties along Highway 3A from Twin Lakes to Olalla, Marron Valley, Farleigh Lake and portions of Green Mountain Road.

The RDOS has an interactive map showing properties on evacuation alert or order.

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Meanwhile, in its Saturday morning update, the BC Wildfire Service listed the fire’s size at 6,712 hectares for a third straight day.

Further, BCWS said Friday night’s thunderstorm did not impact the blaze.

The Kamloops Fire Centre had 2,665 lightning strikes on Friday, but it appears the thunderstorm either bypassed or went around the fire area.

Click to play video: 'Timelapse of Friday night thunderstorm in Okanagan'
Timelapse of Friday night thunderstorm in Okanagan

“Winds from the thunderstorms that developed in the Kamloops Fire Centre have not impacted the Keremeos Creek wildfire,” BCWS said in its daily update, which added that Saturday’s forecast will feature temperatures in the mid-20s and slightly higher humidity.

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“For the past two nights, we’ve been able to avoid those stronger, gusty winds,” said BCWS information officer Forrest Tower. “That’s really helped to keep the fire in a pretty stable pattern right now.”

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The fire also received six mm of rain on Friday night. Tower said it wasn’t much, “but every little bit of rain helps, even if it’s brief.”

Click to play video: 'Viewer photos of colourful Okanagan sunset, thunderstorm'
Viewer photos of colourful Okanagan sunset, thunderstorm

While BCWS is expecting relatively stable fire activity for Saturday, it did note that winds of 20-40 km/h are in the forecast, which could lead to an increase in fire activity, particularly in the afternoon and on south-facing slopes.

Currently, there are 309 wildland firefighters battling the blaze plus 49 structure protection personnel, along with 16 helicopters and 45 pieces of heavy equipment.

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In related news, Telus says its services in several communities will be disrupted as crews repair lines damaged from fires.

The affected communities are Keremeos, Boston Bar, Fraser Acres, Spuzzum, Yale, Lytton and Spences Bridge.

“Usually we could avoid a disruption while completing these repairs, but our backup fibre lines in the area are affected by other wildfires,” said Telus.

“Emergency services are aware and crews will complete the work ASAP beginning around 11 p.m PT. Thanks for your patience and understanding.”

Click to play video: '‘Tears of joy’: Olalla, B.C. residents relieved to return home'
‘Tears of joy’: Olalla, B.C. residents relieved to return home

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